I asked for questions on my social media, and got some great ones to answer for you today!
Be sure to find out the answer to my #1 question on epidurals:
Big thanks to today’s sponsor The Online Prenatal Class for Couples — if you’re looking for more information on all aspects of pregnancy, do NOT miss it! Be sure to use the coupon code mentioned in the episode!
Questions Most Often Asked:
- How often does an epidural not work?
- What are the consequences of an epidural?
- How does recovery compare with/without an epidural?
- What are the complications of an epidural?
- Does the epidural increase your risks for tearing?
- How much pain does an epidural take away?
Other things you might find helpful:
Producer: Drew Erickson
Check out my other pregnancy podcasts:
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Hilary Erickson 0:00
Hey guys, welcome back to the pulling curls podcast. Today on Episode 40, we’re talking about the happy-dural. Yeah, that’s what we used to call it at one of my hospitals. We’re talking all about the epidural and I can’t wait to answer some of your most burning questions. Let’s untangle it. Welcome to the polling girls podcast where we untangle everything from pregnancy parenting, home routines, even some family travel because heavens knows our lives are tangled. I’m your host, Hilary Erickson.
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This episode of The pulling curls podcast is sponsored by the online prenatal class. for couples. It simplifies understanding labor so you can have a more relaxed pregnancy and birth taught by a highly experienced labor and delivery nurse and can be done wherever you are whenever you want. No more arranging busy schedules to fit in a prenatal class, say 15% With a coupon code untangled, you can find out more at pulling curls calm and the menu under courses or in this episode show notes.
Okay, question number one about epidurals, how far long should I be before I get an epidural? Now there’s a reason this is question number one because it’s the question people ask me in the hospital, in my groups all over the places and in fact, I have a whole thing that I can send you. That’s all about when the best time to get the epidural is so jump on over to pulling curls. This is Episode 40. Check it out in the show notes. Find out it’s all in there. Okay, next question. How often does an epidural not work? Now some people think
their epidural isn’t working if they feel anything at all, and I have a whole post on how much you should feel if even if the epidural is working. So don’t feel like if you get an epidural, you’re going to be completely numb. That’s not the plan because I need you to help me help you move and all those kind of thing. So that type of thing happens sometimes that you’re well it should happen a good amount of the time. You should feel something with the epidural It should take about 80% of the pain away now people that are getting less than 80% How often does that happen? I would say not super frequently. I will say that as you get further into labor, sometimes we need to increase the dosage or the anesthesiologist needs to come take a peek at you.
Some anesthesiologists are better at that than others. And so just make sure that you let your nurse know if it isn’t working. Sometimes you have to be a little bit insistent. Sometimes the only thing they can do is replace the epidural so you need to be open to that the procedure of the epidural placement again, sometimes that’s the only thing that can fix it because if you’re if the little tube that gives you epidural medicine moves out of the place where they put it then it can’t work. So just something to think about. It doesn’t happen all that often most people get good relief with their epidural because these are highly trained anesthesiologists that you are paying a lot of money to so other tip you are paying them a lot of money. So if they are unwilling to come into your room, I would make dang well sure that they just come into your room. So yeah, that’s my tip for episode.
Okay, next question is what are the consequences from the epidural? And how often do I see them. So when your anesthesiologist comes in, they’re going to provide informed consent and they’re going to give you all the risks and benefits including the most often consequence is a spinal headache, which is where they go a little bit too far and a little bit of spinal fluid leaks out and that makes it so that you have a headache, there is something that they can do called a blood patch that can fix it that sounds a lot worse than it actually is. They just take a little bit of your blood and they kind of just stick it there so that you aren’t leaking spinal fluid. That happens somewhat frequently. I think the number is around 1% of the time. The most important part with all that is to try and stay as still as you possibly can while they’re putting in the epidural but it is something that can be fixed and isn’t really a huge deal once the blood patch takes effect.
Other consequences Some people say that they have back pain, you are going to have a little bit of pain there because they have stuck a needle and you just like you’ll have pain where your IV was and things like that. But a lot of new moms, regardless of an epidural have back pain because you’re carrying the car seat. you’re leaning down into the crib, you’re awkward angle trying to breastfeed all those kind of things and so back pain is kind of part of new motherhood as well. Most people don’t have real specific things related to the epidural as far as having it put in and those types of things. That’s what I’d say for consequences from the epidural. Okay, next question, how does recovery compare with the epidural and without the epidural so initial recovery is a little bit different. We turn off the epidural right after the doctor finishes their repair, which means if you need any stitches, the epidural is confusing for that portion of your recovery as well.
Getting up to the restroom can be a little bit more problematic the first couple of times with an epidural because your legs aren’t used to walking and sometimes they’re a little bit numb and so the nurse will stand by as you get up to the restroom. However, the nurse would stand by a couple of times before you get up to the restroom, even if you didn’t have an epidural. After the first 12 hours or so the recovery with an epidural versus not an epidural is pretty much the same. However, new moms without an epidural are probably more likely to be able to shower quicker and be up and take care of the baby a little bit more than a mom who had an epidural. But it really isn’t that much of a change a few hours into recovery, I did get asked what are the complications of an epidural, we kind of went over that the spinal headache. Obviously, when your anesthesiologist comes in, they’re gonna go through informed consent, which we’ve talked about before.
But if they do it correctly, one of the consequences could be death, however, you’re more likely to die driving to the hospital than you are from the epidural. So don’t let that freak you out. That’s just an important part of them saying the risks and the benefits of the procedure. Yeah, I mean, if we gave informed consent for turning on your oven, it would also end in or you could die every single time you turned it on and we still all bake. So yeah, we just hospital informed consent is just very thorough versus like oven big. Okay, somebody asked if it increases your risk for tearing. Now, this one’s complicated because it really depends on your person. But I actually find that the epidural decreases your risk for tearing just in my personal opinion, not in any studies, just the 20 years that I’ve done it. The reason behind that is as you push you Baby through the very end of your vagina, some women just want to push it out like a bowling ball and then that rips you a little bit more as the baby comes out. If you have an epidural, however, it makes it so you can listen to your doctor’s instructions give small pushes, so that your parents can stretch rather than tear as the baby comes out. So it just makes you a little bit more controlled because you don’t have that, quote, Ring of Fire as the baby is coming out.
Keep in mind that if you see studies about tearing versus not tearing, women with an epidural are usually a little bit more high risk in general than women without an epidural. They might have bigger babies, etc, etc. So that’s just something to keep an eye on with studies as well. studies are difficult to predict what will happen in your circumstance either way, and then the final question is how much pain do they take away? We kind of answered this it should take away about 80% of the pain. I do have posts where I share exactly what happens when the epidural goes in how much pain it should take away what exactly will happen when they put it in and What to watch for all those kinds of things.
So if you’re interested in more information on epidurals check out those posts, but if you want to have the whole Encyclopedia of epidurals definitely check out the online prenatal class. for couples. We have a whole section on pain management, there are other options besides an epidural, don’t think that you have to get an epidural. I think it really depends on the area of the country you’re in or the country you’re delivering in. If you’re not in the United States, when I delivered in San Jose, there was a much lower epidural rate just because of the cultural population that we served. So don’t think that epidurals is your only option in the online prenatal class for couples. I do review IV medications and nitrous oxide and we also talk about natural pain management. So there are other options and I think that you just need to be flexible and do what works for you. But I do think you also need to be informed about what the options are so that you can be prepared to make the choice as you confront labor.
All right, that’s today’s episode. Again, if you want to learn more about epidurals, I do have posts that I’ll link to in the show notes and I have that whole email that I will send you about when to get the epidural which I think will be super helpful. for you guys. If you like today’s episode we’d love it if you would share, subscribe and review it really makes a difference. We drop an episode every Monday and until then I hope you have a tangle free day!
Transcribed by https://otter.ai