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During Which Stage Of Labour Can The Epidural Block Be Administered

Planning for Delivery 

If you are to name the most painful experience of your life, it would be labor pain. The contraction of the muscles, the pressure on the cervix, and the unbearable pain felt on the abdomen, groin, and back can leave you exhausted. 

One way to overcome this pain is to go for an epidural block. This eases the labor pain by numbing the lower part of your body and helps you deliver the baby without much difficulty. 

What Is An Epidural Block?

An epidural block is an injection provided on the back that numbs the lower part of your body. This lessens the pain of contraction and helps you to deliver the baby without much suffering. An epidural block is also given to numb your body during a C-section. 

How Does An Epidural Block Work?

The contraction of the uterus during labor causes pain that travels via the nerves into the brain. That is when you feel the pain sensation. When an epidural is given, the anesthetic agent in the epidural numbs the nerves and prevents the brain from sensing the pain. But it lets you feel the pressure on your pelvic. Thus, when you enter the second stage of labor, you can push the baby. 

When Is the Epidural Block Administered? 

The epidural is normally given during the first stage of labor when your cervix is dilated around 4-5 cm. This numbs the nerves leading to the brain, and you do not feel the pain. But since the pressure is felt on the pelvic region, you can push the baby. 

Once the epidural is given, it takes around 5 - 30 minutes for the pain to subside. 

What Are the Benefits of An Epidural Block?

  • An epidural block numbs the nerves and relieves you from the pain. 
  • It is one of the safest methods of pain relief during labor. 
  • Only your nerves are numbed through an epidural. Thus, you can move around in bed even after taking an epidural. 
  • You feel the pressure on the pelvic region after administering the epidural. Thus, you can have a normal vaginal delivery with less pain. 
  • If vaginal birth is not possible, you can have a C-section as the epidural numbs the lower part of your body. 

What Are the Risks Involved In An Epidural Block?

  • Some people develop a severe headache after being administered an epidural. 
  • You might lose the sensation in your bladder and need a catheter for passing urine. 
  • Your blood pressure needs to be closely monitored when an epidural is given. 
  • Sometimes it can slow down the second stage of labor. 

Final Thought

An epidural can be given either out of choice or necessity. If you think you may not bear the pain, you can opt for an epidural beforehand. This provides you better control of the labor. On the other hand, the epidural might become a necessity for some if the labor does not progress as required. In such a situation, the doctor will decide to administer an epidural and go for a C-section.