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    Epidural Placement for Labor

    Epidural Placement for Labor

    Placement of an epidural catheter for labor
    Epidural catheter in place

    Epidural anesthesia involves putting a sterile guide needle and a small tube (epidural catheter) into the space between the spinal cord and outer membrane of the spinal cord (epidural space). The epidural catheter is placed at or below the waist.

    The guide needle is inserted and removed, while the catheter remains in place. The catheter is taped in place up the center of your back and at the top of your shoulder.

    An anesthetic medicine is injected into the catheter to numb your body below the insertion site. The amount of discomfort or pain that you have depends on the amount of anesthetic used. Less anesthetic (often called a light epidural) will allow you to be more active in your labor and feel enough to push effectively. With higher levels of anesthetic, you will feel little or no pain from your contractions. You may be required to remain in bed when an epidural is used.

    Area of numbness from epidural anesthesia
    By Healthwise Staff
    Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
    Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
    Last Revised July 23, 2012

    Last Revised: July 23, 2012

    Author: Healthwise Staff

    Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

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