Epidural anesthesia: 8 questions and answers . health-nutrition-fitness. - Health-Nutrition-Fitness.net Aware to know management of Health , fitness, nutrition in detail .

Epidural anesthesia: 8 questions and answers . health-nutrition-fitness.

Epidural anesthesia allows women to better manage pain during childbirth and in the hours following it.

Epidural anesthesia: 8 questions and answers . health-nutrition-fitness.
Epidural anesthesia: 8 questions and answers . health-nutrition-fitness.

It is very common for women to begin to learn about epidural anesthesia, its advantages and why it is carried out as childbirth approaches. Unfortunately, however, the information they receive is not always accurate because it does not come from a doctor, but from word of mouth among people.

One of the most common inaccuracies heard around is that epidural and spinal anesthesia are the same thing.

This confusion stems from the fact that both types of drugs have the same goal: to avoid pain. In reality, there are differences both in the point where the injection is made and in the time necessary for it to take effect.

1. What is epidural anesthesia and what is it used for?

Epidural anesthesia is an anesthetic drug that is administered in the epidural space ( lumbar area  ), through a very thin catheter, to women who are about to give birth. Its purpose is to make childbirth less painful.

The epidural space is located between the per periosteum  of the vertebral canal bone and the external surface of the dura mater.

woman who did epidural anesthesia

Epidural anesthesia is a form of neuroaxial block: nerve conduction is blocked in the spinal cord.

2. Who administers it and how?

The anesthesiologist is the professional doctor in charge of injecting into the lumbar area of ​​the spine and in particular into the area that covers the spinal cord. 

As a first step, the doctor will clean with a specific solution the area of ​​the back where he will introduce the needle. A local anesthetic can also be used in this area.

3. Why is it used?

Epidural anesthesia is given to women to temporarily block the brain's ability to recognise painful stimuli and facilitate childbirth . Since it is injected through a catheter, it can also be administered in the hours following the birth to keep the pain under control.

It is important to know that epidural anesthesia has no less side effects than general anesthesia. Furthermore, there may be greater risks due to the particular condition that a pregnant woman lives.

4. What is the size of the epidural anesthesia needle?

anesthesiologist practices epidural anesthesia

Generally, the needle with which epidural anesthesia is given has a very thin gauge.

5. What are the complications of epidural anesthesia ?

Although they are not very common, in some cases, the application of epidural anesthesia may have the following side effects:

  • Headache.
  • Hypotension.
  • Urinary retention.
  • Backache (low back pain).
  • Nausea, vomiting (due to hypotension).
  • Blood leaking through the needle.

In rare cases they can manifest:
  • Convulsions.
  • Allergic reactions.
  • Spinal infections (meningitis).

6. What do doctors need to know before giving the injection?


If it is not a caesarean section, doctors must ascertain if the patient is pregnant. Furthermore, it is important to inform them about the medicines, supplements and herbal products that you are taking without a prescription.

Another important aspect concerns the possible allergies to drugs or if you have previously undergone an anesthetic that has caused you health problems.

If surgery is planned in advance, they may ask you to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), warfarin or other drugs that prevent blood clotting.

7. What should be done before the injection?                                      

  • The day before the epidural injection it is forbidden to smoke, drink alcohol or take any other substance harmful to the body.
  • You can only take the medicines prescribed by your doctor with a little water.
  • Keep calm.
  • Go to the hospital or clinic soon.

8. Who should I ask for information?

The best advice we can give you is to consult your family doctor or a specialist. It is important that you express all your concerns and doubts before the intervention.

After carrying out the epidural injection, healthcare professionals will remove the catheter from the back.

 At this point, the woman must lie down and rest until she regains the sensitivity of her legs and the ability to walk normally. For this reason it is necessary that the patient is accompanied by a person who can help her before, during and after birth or surgery .

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Epidural anesthesia: 8 questions and answers . health-nutrition-fitness. Epidural anesthesia: 8 questions and answers . health-nutrition-fitness. Reviewed by Health-nutrition-fitness.net on July 18, 2019 Rating: 5

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