Today I’m giving you my BEST tips for you if you are afraid of getting your epidural. Including how other people feel, how to get your partner involved and what exactly happens.
This episode was inspired by my posts on epidurals: https://www.pullingcurls.com/?s=epidural
Mentioned in this episode:
My Youtube video on the epidural placement is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrd0AzxySH4&t=262s
Other things that might interest you:
Producer: Drew Erickson
Check out my other pregnancy podcasts:
[00:00:00.090] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, guys, welcome back to the Pulling Curls Podcast. Today on episode 174, we are talking about being afraid of the epidural. Let’s untangle it.
[00:00:19.540] – Hilary Erickson
Hi, I’m Hilary Erickson, the curly head behind the Pulling Curls Podcast: pregnancy and parenting untangle. There’s no right answer for every family, but on this show, we hope to give you some ideas to make life simpler at your house. Life tangled just like my hair.
[00:00:40.460] – Hilary Erickson
The epidural is something that people are honestly super afraid of. I will say that a lot of my patients and honestly, I think even me, gets real shaky when anesthesia comes in because they’re just nervous about it, right? They think it’s going to be a huge deal. And I will say most of my patients find that it was not near as scary as they were anticipating it to be. So today I wanted to give you four tips in case you are afraid of the epidural that might help you for it.
[00:01:10.310] – Hilary Erickson
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[00:01:45.340] – Hilary Erickson
The first one is to know how normal it is to be afraid of it. I have so many patients who apologize because they’re shaking or they’re embarrassed by it. I mean, I am a labor nurse and I get a little nervous when I go in to do an epidural. It’s just a lot of unknown. You’re worried.
[00:02:00.010] – Hilary Erickson
We are biologically programmed to be very protective of our backs, so it would be very normal for us to not want anything to hurt it. So nurses understand that you’re nervous and that we are there to help support you. So I think that’s one of the best tips to know is that it’s normal and your nurse is used to helping people confront their fears and get through the epidural process. The second thing is that you literally cannot see them put in the epidural. I know a lot of people are like, “don’t let me see the IV.”
[00:02:27.240] – Hilary Erickson
Some people want to look at the IV, but most people prefer not to look at the IV. But with the epidural, you literally can’t unless you’re like in the exorcist and your head can turn all the way around because where they are putting the needle is just not somewhere that we can see. So if that’s a concern, of yours. Most often you never see the epidural. I know they can be scary to see.
[00:02:46.410] – Hilary Erickson
If you’ve seen one online, let me be very clear that that entire needle is not going in you. I have some patients that I think that needle would have gone all the way through. The needle is big so that you have a little bit more play as you’re putting it in. That’s the only reason that the needle is bigger than something that you might normally see so you can’t see it and sometimes that’s comforting for people. The third thing is to learn the process.
[00:03:08.460] – Hilary Erickson
Now guys, in the show Notes, I’m going to link a YouTube video that I did that I show the entire process using a raggedy-ann doll and I go through everything like how they clean your back and that might feel cold, how they numb it and that might feel bee sting. You’re going to learn the whole process. So I would 100% recommend checking out that video. I just use mostly like household items. A few things I bought on Walmart to just show you what to expect. That’s a good one to find out as well.
[00:03:35.160] – Hilary Erickson
Now the fourth one apparently really varies hospital to hospital. Every hospital that I’ve worked at, the partner was allowed to stay. Then during COVID I heard some partners weren’t allowed to stay because anesthesia was concerned that they would catch COVID from the partner, even though anesthesia has always been masked during the procedure. Now you have to remember that the epidural is really important that everything stays sterile because we obviously don’t want to introduce bacteria into our spinal fluid.
[00:04:01.410] – Hilary Erickson
That would be really bad. Infection would be one of the things we’re really trying to prevent in the epidural placement process. But most often, and you can check with your hospital, ask your provider, they might know your partner can stay in the room. And one of the things I love to do is set up the partner in front of the patient because most partners have to sit down for the epidural placement. Anesthesia generally doesn’t like the partner looking at what they’re doing.
[00:04:24.480] – Hilary Erickson
And we’ve had a fair number of partners faint, so we want them to be seated because we can’t be dealing with the birther, having the epidural and a partner fainting. So make sure you maybe have eaten something before the process as well. So the partner I like to sit in front of mom and then put the birther’s feet on the partner’s legs so they raise the bed up. And then when we put your feet on their knees, it helps curl your back and you feel super supported and the partner feels like they are involved in the process as well. So that’s one of my favorite things to involve the partner help position.
[00:04:55.930] – Hilary Erickson
It’s less work for me. So I really like to involve a partner. I would encourage you that if you’re really worried about the epidural. Mention that to your partner so that they can be extra attentive and supportive during this time. And maybe you can watch that video together that I will link in the show notes. If you’re like, “I don’t want to find the show notes,” My YouTube channel is the Pregnancy Nurse and if you just type in epidural procedure, I believe it should come up and you’ll see a picture of me and my raggedy-ann doll. So it is pretty, not scary, but it will give you an idea of what’s going to go on. And I think if you understand what’s going to go on, you’ll really be okay with the epidural process. That’s epidural.
[00:05:29.050] – Hilary Erickson
This one’s kind of a short one this week, but I want you guys to understand that it’s normal to be nervous about it. Most people find that it was much better than they anticipated, although I’m nervous every single baby. I’ve had three epid…. Actually I’ve had more epidurals, but that is a podcast for another day because FYI, they do put in epidural for pain relief or back and stuff. Mine was for tailbone pain.
[00:05:48.700] – Hilary Erickson
If you want a podcast on that, tell me on Instagram. But anyway, the epidural, it’s not so bad. If you have any questions, come find me on Instagram. I will have a post that relates to this podcast episode and I would love to chitty chat with you over there.
[00:06:00.910] – Hilary Erickson
Stay tuned for or upcoming episodes. We have one talking about starting decluttering when you feel overwhelmed, which is so normal, just like both of these things are very normal, epidurals and decluttering. And then I’m going to actually have a replay, so stay tuned for which episode I thought was a favorite.
[00:06:17.010] – Hilary Erickson
Thanks so much for joining us on today’s episode. The Pulling Curls Podcast grows when you share us on social media or leave a review. If you do, please tag us so that we can share and send you a virtual hug, which frankly is my favorite kind of hugging. Until next time, we hope you have a tangle free day.