Does an epidural take away all the pain while pushing during childbirth?

Libby - posted on 04/23/2010 ( 405 moms have responded )

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I had 4 kids already, but I had them all naturally. It was very painful every time but I'm so scared of getting an epidural. I really am considering getting the epidural but I want to make sure it really works before I put myself through it.

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Courtney - posted on 09/18/2011

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I am a FTM, and when I went into labor I kept an open mind. I had never experienced pain, so I was not sure if I would be able to tolerate the labor. I went into labor at home. I had contractions for about 12 hours before DH and I decided it was time to go to L&D. I tolerate the contractions all day and for about 4-5 hours in the hospital. Finally the back labor got so intense that I decided to go with the epidural. It was the best decision I could have made. Once I got the epidural (which did not hurt) it was all a waiting game. I progressed at a decent rate and about 6 hours after the epi I pushed pain-free for 25 minutes and welcomed my first son. I have heard in thr past that many people do not feel the urge to push with the epidural, but I certainly did, and had a successful pain free delivery.

Kelsey - posted on 04/23/2010

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it took away all my pain, i still felt pressure... wasn't extremely painful pressure, i can only imagine how painful it would have been if i didn't have the epidural. ive made a mental note that next time if i have another child that i will get an epidural asap lol i waited a little while to get mine and i wish i hadn't cause i was in so much pain.

Tasha - posted on 01/03/2013

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I had an epidural my first time and my second I went natural because I was so scared to repeat the experience. They had to stick it in my twice for one, because they drew spinal fluid. THEN, I pushed so hard and I couldn't feel anything that I tore myself severely down there and they had to put me on a morphine drip until I passed out.

So yes, it takes away all the pain, but it was not worth it to me. I couldn't feel what I was doing. The needle SUCKED. I'm planning on doing a natural birth again.

good luck though!!

Ivy - posted on 01/07/2013

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No. I had one natural and one with an epidural. With the epidural, the pains from the contractions were immediately gone. Then, when I pushed, I could feel horrible pain. When I had my son naturally, I was in excruciating pain until I pushed. Then, I felt no pain--due to the fact that all nerve endings had been broken (according to the doctor). With the epidural, my child was born faster and almost all of it was pain-free. I also recovered faster with the epidural.

Daisy - posted on 01/04/2013

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No it doesn't. I had cramps n burning sensations in my legs it would start during contractions then I would feel all the pressure of bby coming down. It was so brutal. I thought the epidural would numb this and it did not. So it was not worth it at all... Next time I will not get one!!!!

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Diana - posted on 01/07/2013

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When i received my epidural it took about 20 minutes to kick in. once it was time to push all i felt was a lot of pressure. I was very scared to recieve mine too. It did hurt slightly, but wasnt that bad. Only part that was uncomfy was having to stay still while getting contractions! Good Luck!

Brianna - posted on 01/01/2013

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for the most part but you will feel alot of pressure i had an epidural with my first daugter i pushed for 2 hours my epidural lasted that long but some peoples might not last as long

Sally - posted on 01/01/2013

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I've delivered both ways and done a lot of research into both as well.
How well an epidural relieves pain (it if does at all) depends on a lot of factors. You won't have any control over any of them and the doctors won't have any control over most of them. Also, the side effects are not as rare as the hospital will tell you they are and some of them are very scary. It can screw with your babies ability to breathe, sleep, and nurse for at least a week or two. If they give you a strong one or if you are naturally sensitive to it, you'll also be paralyzed from the waist down for most of your delivery so you can kiss any control over the whole process good by.
Personally, I much preferred a childbirth preparation class that taught me natural, healthy pain suppression.

Thandi - posted on 12/20/2012

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epidural was a waste of time and money to me it didn`t work for me, as I have tried it with my daughter and I didn`t feel any diferent.

Janis Bell - posted on 12/16/2012

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Pushing never hurt for me in all three births. I trained in the original Lamaze method and have taught it for 37 years. There are 5 physiological reasons pushing feels good for most women. If you pushed and birthed on your back that was a contributing factor. If you never took a class to raise your pain tolerance level that could and nothing to lower your fears those could also have contributed.

Reasons pushing feels good for most women:
1) Vagina is made like an accordion
2) Relaxin, the stretchy/stretching hormone you produce in greater and greater amounts through pregnancy, makes your accordion walled vagina even stretchier.
3) The vagina has very few nerves in it (hence why we can wear tampons and not feel them and why we have to tell our partners "It isn't my vagina where it is 'happenin'', it's my clitoris".
4) You leave Transition, right before pushing, full to over-flowing with endorphins and feel soooooooooo good!
5) Once you bear down like you are pushing to pee (with horribly full bladder) ie. down and forward) the sensation of the rising, peaking and diminishing contraction goes away. You cannot even feel it fade away until you let off pushing.

If you did "Directed pushing" (screaming, counting, on your back being told to push like you are having a bowl movement [down and backward] you naturally will have had terrible pain.

Google Gentle Pushing/Physiological Pushing on the internet.....in it you only push with the urge and do nothing of what is involved in Directed pushing.

Before you go for an epidural and not give this baby the gift of an unmedicated birth like your other kids, google Sarah Buckley's article on Epidurals. She is an OB out of Australia. Also check out the article The Truth About Epidurals, By Todd Drybread.

I think you will get your answer from what I said and these two articles. Good Luck!
Aloha,
Janis Bell Bush, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator since 1977
808-263-BABY

Morvarid - posted on 12/14/2012

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No I had it and you won,t feel any thing.i will recomend it to everybody. good luck.

Courtney - posted on 09/18/2011

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I am a FTM, and when I went into labor I kept an open mind. I had never experienced pain, so I was not sure if I would be able to tolerate the labor. I went into labor at home. I had contractions for about 12 hours before DH and I decided it was time to go to L&D. I tolerate the contractions all day and for about 4-5 hours in the hospital. Finally the back labor got so intense that I decided to go with the epidural. It was the best decision I could have made. Once I got the epidural (which did not hurt) it was all a waiting game. I progressed at a decent rate and about 6 hours after the epi I pushed pain-free for 25 minutes and welcomed my first son. I have heard in thr past that many people do not feel the urge to push with the epidural, but I certainly did, and had a successful pain free delivery.

Michelle - posted on 09/15/2011

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epidurals have never worked for me. i've given birth 3x now and in a few short weeks going to do it for the 4th time.

Jennaya - posted on 09/15/2011

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The pain, yes...the pressure, no. It is worth-it. Contractions are so freaking painful.

Meagan - posted on 09/14/2011

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I felt alot of pressure and discomfort.. just keep doing what your doing, it can't be that bad if you have 4 kids already! :)

Andrea - posted on 09/13/2011

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Its all about timing because it is very possible for it to wear off before you deliver. For me it lasted over 6 hours and honestly every time I was told to push I didn't know if I was doing anything!

SaraJane - posted on 09/12/2011

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epidural hurts when they put it in, not as much as contractions, and then it is like you come back to life!! all the pain is gone, your tummy is moving around, you can see the contractions happening but there is no pain!! it does lessen your want to push but the doctors help with that. it is a bit uncomforatable and scary for a coupld hours afterwards becasue you can feel your legs, but no pain.

Laurie - posted on 09/08/2011

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I had an epidural and I won't do go through labor again without it. The pain was terrible until the shot and then it almost gone. When it was time to push, I did feel the pressure, and then I did feel when my little guy came out. I was able to enjoy the birth without the pain. Good luck and whatever your decision is, it will be the right one for you and your baby!!

Jennifer - posted on 09/06/2011

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It took away all my pain! Couldn't feel any contractions or any "pressure" that everyone talks about. I loved it.

Holly - posted on 09/05/2011

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i had an epidural with my first, didnt feel the needle or anything. and it does take away all the pain, although you can opt for half the dose so you can still feel when your pushing the baby out. I am having number 4-5 and was told i should keep my mind open for an epi in case they have to turn one of the babies.

Katrina - posted on 09/04/2011

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I had one with my first and it made me feel human again!! When I got to the point of pushing, I could feel pain again, but this time it was managable! I got through it so much easier and still 'felt' what was happening and did the work myself! However, it doesn't work for everyone....

Chelsea - posted on 09/04/2011

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I didnt get mine in time for it to work I still felt everything. So after my first child I never had one again. Figured whats the point if I might not get it in time again.

Tanya - posted on 08/31/2011

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Charlotte, you are totally right! When you have an epidural, your body stops producing endorphins, which are nature's painkillers. I think turning the epidural DOWN is a good idea so that the mother can feel something (I felt NOTHING while pushing with my first, and it made it really hard, because I had no clue if I was doing it right or not), but turning it OFF is actually kind of cruel!

Charlotte - posted on 08/31/2011

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Not at all! I had an epidural for my twins and they stopped the drugs when it was time to push! The midwife even stuck her fingers in there and in the end I was torn. Going from happy, floaty relaxed to excruciating pain is worse than going from one pain to another if you ask me!

Charlotte - posted on 08/31/2011

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Not at all! I had an epidural for my twins and they stopped the drugs when it was time to push! The midwife even stuck her fingers in there and in the end I was torn. Going from happy, floaty relaxed to excruciating pain is worse than going from one pain to another if you ask me!

Donimiotto4 - posted on 08/29/2011

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It took away almost all of the pain for me. you have to lay on your side and switch sides often before you start pushing...my baby preferred me not to lay on one side so it left my one side less numb. Although this wasn't painful maybe a little pressure so I could tell when I was having ocntractions still so I knew when to start pushing before the doctors would have to tell me. I would recommend the epidural to anyone. It takes away the contractions pain and I did not feel the tearing or pushing either. The shot in the back was nothing! I would recommend it!

Samantha - posted on 08/29/2011

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yes it works. you will still feel the pressure but its not painful. i didnt really feel anything but the pressure so i would know when to puch.

[deleted account]

Oh yea Paula reminded me you do feel pressure it took away all the contractions but once the baby is at the bottom where u can start pushing you feel a lot of pressure it was uncomfortable to me and so thats how i knew i wanted to push

Paula - posted on 08/28/2011

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i had an epidural with my son. all i felt was pressure. it took the pain of contractions away for me. as far as it wearing off, my husband pushed the button to give me one last dose right before i started pushing and it wore off an hour after delivery. i would recommend it. hope this helps. good luck!!

[deleted account]

It did for me i waited until i was 8 cm to get an epi didnt feel anything from my waist down and i could control how much i wanted with a button. two pushes and she was halfway out i could kind of feel the "ring of fire" but i kept pushing and literally in four pushes she was out and i had no tearing. Other than that felt absoulutely nothing and i knew when to push they would say push but i could just tell when i wanted to without there being any pain idk its weird to explain but it was great :) But i really wanna try and do everything natural the next time i have a baby just to have the experience but i kno its easier said than done :) Good luck momma and congrats!

Tania - posted on 08/28/2011

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Mine took away all the pain. Couldn't feel a thing even when I was pushing. I was so numb I couldn't even feel to move myself up on the bed a bit. I didn't even know when to push, they had to tell me because I couldn't feel a thing. I ended up having an emergency c-section because baby's heart rate was dropping, he was well n truly stuck!

Sarah - posted on 08/28/2011

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It worked wonderfully with my first Labour - my partner was telling me that I was having a contraction! But did not work at all with my 3rd (missed one with my 2nd). I think that it is just luck but when it works - OMG it is amazing!

Sandra - posted on 08/27/2011

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Everyone is diffrent. I had the epidural I couldnt feel anything at all. I was afraid of it too but I am glad I got it. But I will be going natural the next time because my back still hurts from it.

Brijitte - posted on 08/26/2011

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Well I had the epidural and it did take away all my pain... But if you have already had 4 kids natural I would have the last one natural too... My hips went numb all the time if I stood for long periods of time and now my back pops randomly when I am standing or doing any sort of physical workout... I don"t think I will be getting one on my second birth.

Amanda - posted on 08/22/2011

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why put yourself in the postition to even get an epidural? I have 2 kids. both no drugs all natural. and I feel so proud of myself that I let my body do what it's MEANT to do. I have heard too many bad stories about the epidural and too many risks. my next baby will probably b at home or in a birthing center. yes, it's painful. but didn't you feel the natural pain relievers kick in? I feel VERY strongly about having children all natural. but that's my opinion. all this modern medicine is bs. just another excuse to make it easier for the doctor and take more money. I'm 19.. and this is just how I feel :/ just think about it. you did it 4 other times! you can do it again..

Kimmy - posted on 08/22/2011

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My epidural worked for only half of my body. The other half of me felt everything.

Jennifer - posted on 08/22/2011

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I was induced and asked for an epidural before I even started feeling anything major. I was 5 centimeters at that point and it still didn't hurt as bad as I thought it was going to, but I decided to get one anyway "just in case". I'm a big baby and I can't handle pain!! Anyway, it was all smooth sailing until around I hit 9 centimeters. I don't know what happened...if it just stopped working, or they stopped it. I knew something was going on because I could feel like I had to go pee...which was actually me feeling the catheter...which apparently wasn't normal for someone with an epidural. Then out of no where, it was like someone just turned off the switch, and I felt everything. And I mean everything. The crowning was the worst!! My contractions hurt too but not as bad as that. Wow. But I have heard that some people feel pain, some people don't. It probably wouldn't hurt as bad as natural though, so I say give it a try!! Don't be scared. :)

Tanya - posted on 08/21/2011

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Mine did, but my recovery was horrible!! I was in pain for two weeks afterwards.


With my natural birth, I felt NO pain during pushing, and my recovery was nothing! I had a second degree tear (which I didn't have with my first), but I felt like a million bucks. I loved the "high" from all the oxytocin, adrenaline, and endorphins. For me, it lasted about two weeks!

Kristi - posted on 08/20/2011

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when I had my first i got an epidural and didn't feel any pain. I had the urge to push, but it wasn't painful at all. in fact i slept between contractions-i had been up all day and it was 2am. it does tend to make labor slow down though.

Lisa - posted on 08/20/2011

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yes lol altho mine didnt work it numbed 1 leg me bum and bits i still felt every contraction but when i pushed her out i could feel her but it wasnt painfull!

Emma - posted on 08/15/2011

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i had an epi with my 2nd baby and it didnt work at all, i had my 3rd baby 3wks ago and had an epi again but i had an allergic reaction to something in it which made me itch so much that they stopped it as the pain from itching was far worse than the contractions i was getting x

Tracy - posted on 08/15/2011

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I had an epidural with all three of mine. I felt like I actually got to enjoy the births because I wasn't crazy with pain. I actually watched my first son in the mirror... amazing.

Mandy - posted on 08/15/2011

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it diffrent for every women.. my first child i had it and it wore off so i had her natural my second had it and then a hour later had my second one and i felt everything but their was little pain.... hold out on getting it to the very last window then get it...

Hayley - posted on 08/15/2011

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i had epidural with both my kids first time it wore off after 2-3hours so yes felt the pain second time i had what they call a epidural headache which i tell is horrible i ended up having to have a blood patch done and i could still feel that horrible pressure feeling i ended up having to have an emergancy c-section with my second. goodluck with your decision i wish i din't have it with either.

Hayley - posted on 08/15/2011

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i had epidural with both my kids first time it wore off after 2-3hours so yes felt the pain second time i had what they call a epidural headache which i tell is horrible i ended up having to have a blood patch done and i could still feel that horrible pressure feeling i ended up having to have an emergancy c-section with my second. goodluck with your decision i wish i din't have it with either.

Megan - posted on 08/14/2011

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yes, with my 2nd i was 10cm and my water still had not broke, I had to push to break it. the negitive part is that if you need to squat to push and epidural can make it very hard to move or to stay in the squat position. they also can slow down labor.

Julie - posted on 08/13/2011

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Well there are different types. The first one I had totally numbed me from the waist down. I couldn't feel anything which was great, but I couldn't tell when I was having a contraction so my husband had to watch the monitor and tell me so I knew when to push. Also I couldn't push effectively so they wound up using forceps to pull my daughter out. The second time worked better where I could still feel a little pressure, nothing painful, just enough so I knew when I was having a contraction and when to push. However it hurt going in and I had terrible back pain for 6 months after. The 3rd time was good, best of both worlds. The 4th time I had the pump. It was good at first, but then I needed a stronger dose and it was a half hour before the anesthesiologist could get back to increase it. Once he did though it worked well the rest of the time. The 5th time I probably didn't need it, as my son was so little only 2 lbs. 15 oz., but they did 3 different types and I didn't have any pain. I had the pump for part of that one. They didn't give it to me at first because they thought I would deliver within the hour. Then there was a shift change and they had to hold off so I was given the pump and then when I was taken to the O.R. they gave me something else because they took the pump away.

Julie - posted on 08/13/2011

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I had what I believe is called a spinal block....it was a one-time shot that numbs you for about 5 hours, so you get it a little later in the labor process. In fact, I dilated all the way to 10 cm with no meds, but was scared/ too tired to push without something. They came in and gave me that shot, and I don't remember feeling any pain during pushing. I don't know how common this is, mine was a premature, quick labor, but it's definitely something to ask your doctor about. I was very happy with it, and hope to do the same for future kids!

Jennifer - posted on 08/12/2011

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It COMPLETELY TOOK IT AWAY FOR ME BUT I THINK MINE WAS REALLY STRONG. Sorry for all the caps. My phone went crazy and wouldn't make it smaller. I recommend the epidural!!

Danielle - posted on 08/12/2011

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With my first I got the epidural n felt EVERYTHING but with my second one I didn't feel a thing n it was kinda scary cus I didn't really know when to push :/

Ntahli - posted on 08/10/2011

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Yah it really helped, i didnt feel any pain and i was given pains coz I didnt have contractions so imagine given pains but realy I didnt feel a thing. The only thing that you can think of is when you dont feel your legs you have to be carried and washed coz u cant do anything. Go for it ladies enough of the pains

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