- The process
You will be asked to curl up in a fetal position to expose your spinal nerves to the technician. A six-inch needle containing anesthetic will be inserted into your spinal column.
- Wait till contractions are constant
If you're planning to get the epidural try to wait till your contractions are constant - indicating you're nearing transition. Given any earlier and the epidural may significantly slow your labor's progress, putting you at risk for an "emergency c-section" on the hospital's 24-hour labor clock.
- You're on your back, like a drugged turtle
Once the drug has been administered, the numbing effect should relieve the pain of labor, but it unfortunately chains you to the hospital bed, forcing you to labor and birth on your back while psychologically numbing your mind to the process at hand, inhibiting your milk let-down and interfering with the postpartum endorphin release that combats postpartum pain and depression.
- Increases risk of long-term back pain & post-partum depression
An epidural can provide pain relief during labor, but not without serious risks including: long-term back pain as 20% of women experience nerve damage, slowing labor and significantly increasing your risk of c-section. It also inhibits the entire postpartum release of endorphins, which may negatively impact your postpartum recovery.