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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Amanda - posted on 04/29/2010

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It depends on how far along you are before you get it. I got mine at 9cm and didnt feel anything for about 3-4hrs after words.

Denise - posted on 04/29/2010

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I had one and oh my goodness, for me it was the best thing in the world! During labor i was actually texting and going on facebook and twitter after i got my epidural!

Colleen - posted on 04/29/2010

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I had a wonderful experience with receiving an epidural for my son's birth last March (2009). I had initially hoped to not have to use it, but when the doctor had said that I may be having to go in for a C-section, I absolutely took my "big girl pill" and decided that I wanted to get my son out myself. The doctor had the epidural in between another contraction started (I was 2 minutes apart at that time), and only 2 centimeters. Within an hour and a half, I was ready to push!!! I actually enjoyed my labor and delivery once I received my epidural, and didn't have any side-effects after. I didn't have a chance to read the other 152 comments here, but I'm sure there are many different stories to be told!!!

Tia - posted on 04/29/2010

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I got mine at like 3 in the morning and I didnt feel anything until about 9 in the morning...and you get this little button you get to push whenever you start feeling pains again you get to push it.. But yeah it worked for me all I felt is the pressure..But NO PAIN at all.

Valerie - posted on 04/29/2010

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I only felt the pressure.I felt I was able to enjoy ( I use that word lightly) but I could enjoy the birth of my child. I had no negitive effects either. I recommend It!!

Michelle - posted on 04/29/2010

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Hi Libby, i had an induction which resulted in me contracting every minute but not dilating more than 4cm! this went on for 16 hours, during which time i had gas and air, and remifentinol (sorry if spelt wrong). I was determined not to have an epidural, but as i was knackered and not progressing the doctors suggested I have one. I was sooooo glad i did as within 10 minutes all pain had stopped and i fell asleep for 2 hours! when i woke up i was fully dilated and felt the need to push (which i didnt think i would). My epidural dose was reduced so i could feel enough to know when to push but it wasnt painful! I used gas and air just as my babys head came out but i think that was more so i had something to bite down on! I am a complete convert now and would recommend an epidural to anyone. hope this helps!

Rachel - posted on 04/29/2010

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My epidural was the worst part of labor because they were having STUDENT do it and they poked me like 8 times. After I finally got it, it was amazing lol. I slept pretty much until I had to push and it just felt like I needed to go to the bathroom and I didnt feel anything else!

Melanie - posted on 04/29/2010

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If you've already been through 4 births without it, then you know you can handle birth without the epi. Why start now?

User - posted on 04/29/2010

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I felt nothing and it was great since i had back labor. i pushed well and popped out a short, fat baby in 28 minutes, and she was my first baby too...but i tore a ton.i got over 20 stitches, so it was good because i did not feel them putting in the stitches as well. when it wore off i thought i was going to die it hurt so bad. i always wonder if i did it naturally if i would have pushed her slower and tore less. completely the opposite of what i thought the whole thing was going to be like. good luck to you! let us know what you ended up doing.

Tessa - posted on 04/29/2010

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for me it didn't.. I still felt some of the pain.. it was freaking horrible. but I do suggest getting one. it takes the edge off for the most part. :)

Tara - posted on 04/29/2010

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it wasnt bad for me it took away all the pain i remeber well as i had my son a month and three weeks ago my advice thought keep topping yourself up otherwise u will feel the pain because towards the end the nurse wouldnt let me top up and i felt everything not to mention it was my first baby

Dana - posted on 04/29/2010

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i had an epi but they had to turn it off because i couldnt feel my legs to push but i had it on for about 4 hrs and thank god.

Alicia - posted on 04/29/2010

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It can vary from person to person, but it worked very well for me. I felt nothing except pressure (which the Dr. wants you to feel so that you can push). The pressure was also very mild in my case--less intense than going to the bathroom, frankly! If you know how badly natural child birth feels, the epidural is worth trying. One of my aunts had every side effect you could get with an epidural (shakes, headaches, etc) and she STILL swears by it! I did have a bad case of the shakes when it wore off, and I couldn't control one of my legs for an hour or so. (it was a little numb and floppy). Also the person administering the epidural matters. I had a very experienced technician, which helps a lot. Anyway, that's my experience. Good luck!

Ashli - posted on 04/29/2010

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You feel the pressure of them putting in the epidural, but if its done right your going to feel nothing but numbness and tingling. If you feel more than that you need to tell them so they can redo it. But the pressure of them putting it in really wasnt painful for me. Felt kinda like a slight pinch. I love the fact i finally decided to get the epidural. And i will get it again with my next child.

Jennifer - posted on 04/29/2010

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I had my epidural done twice. The first time it wore off completely. They had to take it out and redo it!! They made sure it was strong enough the 2nd time so I didn't feel anything. I was numb all the way up to my chest. I even felt like it numbed my insides because I had a hard time taking a deep breath. I couldn't even tell if I was pushing. I was just doing the action though not really feeling what i was doing. I probably will get another epidural. Hopefully the next time will be different. Good luck with your decision.

Julie - posted on 04/29/2010

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Libby, I had one with both of my children and I didn't feel a thing. With my 2nd one I didn't even know I was having contractions until I would look at the monitor & my husband was like can you feel that and I was like nope, I feel NOTHING. Good luck

Shelly - posted on 04/29/2010

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i loved my epidural!!! I didnt get it till i was 4 cm dilated, wished i had gotten it sooner. i had a pump that i was able to hit when it started to wear off which was great. yes it was shut off once i started pushing, but i was able to rest before that, i was soooo tired and the epi took away the pain so i could sleep. as soon as i got it i felt great. i had an episiostomy too but never felt a thing, cutting or stitching, i didnt feel her come out either. id def go for another one

Kristy - posted on 04/29/2010

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I had all 3 of my kids with an epidural. I know my tollerance for pain and knew i couldnt do it without it. With my first, I had a "hot spot, where something was blocking the medicine from going to my right hip area, once it finally did I was having no pain, and from what my Dr. told me very hard contractions. My second and third were much easier, no problems with hot spots. Good luck.

[deleted account]

Hi Libby, I have one of those horror stories for the birth of my daughter, my labour was 44 hours in total! In the leadup to my due date I had always planned that I wanted to go natural but I started contracting at 1am on the (very early) Sunday morning. By 7am I was having contractions every 5 minutes and thought I was doing ok with my tens machine. I went into hospital about midday when they were still 5 minutes apart, only to find that I was only 2 cms dilated. They sent me home and told me to come back that night if the pain got too bad and they would give me pethadine. I ended up back in the hospital about midnight and had the pethadine......total waste of time, only made me fall asleep in between my contractions (still at 5 minutes) and feel really dopey in general, then in the morning when I got up about 8am-ish I was sick a few times from the drug. Totally wouldn't recommend pethadine!! By this point my tens wasn't cutting it and I had a bit of a hissy fit at the mid-wives and told them that I just wanted to get it all going I had been contracting every 5 minutes for 30-something hours and I was sooooo over it!! They took me to the birthing suite and it still took me a couple of hours to convince them to even give me an epi! Once I had it I just could not believe I had even waited so long!! Yes, I then went to sleep, which a lot of women do as it can relax you so much that it slows down your labour, on the flip side if you are almost ready to go it will quicken things up and some women end up having the baby so quickly the epi hasn't taken effect properly. So I felt nothing for the next 9 or so hours before they finally intervened and I had a c-section to get my daughter out. She was posterior and her head got stuck so there was no way that she was coming out on her own. They just topped my epi right up to do the c-section so that gives you a bit of an idea of how effective they can be!! To be honest given that you have had 4 kids naturally already I have heard previously from a couple of people that the docs are really reluctant to give them because they know your labour probably won't be that long and there are always risks attached to having it done. Having said that I managed to stay uber-still when they were inserting the drip into my back and didn't feel a thing probably because I was feeling contractions still and it doesn't even come close to comparing to that pain! Hope everyones' posts have helped you with your decision. Good luck with your birth!!

Jodene - posted on 04/28/2010

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I found it worked for a while, but definitely not near the end. But, I had a very bad, very long labour/delivery. So maybe in a "normal" delivery, it would be different. Don't think of it as "putting yourself through it", it's really not that bad. It sounds worse than it is, I didn't even feel them put the needle in and it did give a huge amount of relief for a while and let me get some rest before the real work began. I was still told when to push, because I couldn't feel the contractions, but I could definitely feel baby fighting to stay in!

Courtney - posted on 04/28/2010

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Oh gosh, I had a spinal and as good as it worked, it made my heart rate plummet and they had to post a nurse at the end of my bed for an hour or two to stand and constantly monitor my vitals. It sucked!! I'm glad no one else has ever tried to stick me with one. UGH!!

Linda - posted on 04/28/2010

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With my first one in 96 I had the epidural and it didn't seem to work I guess because I felt everything. But in March I had one with my daughter and didn't even feel pressure or anyhing. It was a little pinch going in and they checked on me a while later I told them I still felt pressure a little then they added more and no pain at all after that. It wore off about 2 hours later.

Kayla - posted on 04/28/2010

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i guess i was lucky, i didnt feel a thing. i was so numb i couldnt even hold my legs up. My mom and grandma held them for me. i still felt pressure but no pain.

Gina - posted on 04/28/2010

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its amazing. get the epidural u wont feel a contraction at all, and getting it put in dosnt hurt

Jeneanne - posted on 04/28/2010

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It depends on the person. Mine didn't really work either time...your body can have pockets that don't get numb...most likely you would be fine though

Jessica - posted on 04/28/2010

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I tried to go naturally but i progressed so fast at the beginning I couldn't handle it. I was really nervous about the epidural but when they say it feels like a little pinch, really, that's all it is. It took almost everything away and they can always adjust it if you want to feel more of the pain. I had 1 spot that it didn't numb which was a good thing because I could tell when I was transitioning and the I could still feel the urge to push. If you are thinking you might not want it, talk to your doctor about other pain ops like Stadol. It takes the edge off and is another great option:)

Heather - posted on 04/28/2010

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well with me it's hard to say because mine stopped working about an hr after I got it. I ended up with a C-section because I stopped dialating. But if I had to say yes or no to the question, I'd have to say no.

Melissa - posted on 04/28/2010

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Girl-It was the BEST!!! I didn't feel ANY pain! 3 sets of 3 pushes and she was out! AWESOME thing. I was very nervous about it too-but enjoy your delivery and get it! I also went to a class on it before, which helped ease my worries.

Ana - posted on 04/28/2010

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it takes labor pains away but u still feel pressure. i had to get epidural twice. first one didn't worked.after second one i felt asleep after 5 min :)

Bec - posted on 04/28/2010

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Hi Libby,

I have 7 children, and know what you are talking about the pain, With my second child and my twins and had no choice but to have the epidural, what happened was they stuck a really long needle looking thing in my spine or somewhere around that area which hurt me, after this, i must say, I did not feel a thing, I couldnt even feel my right leg. I had to wait till my midwife told me to push coz i couldnt feel anything. In the end I think it was a good thing as if you push without contraction you will end up with stitches. I have not had any stitches with my children. I have also heard that some can still feel it. I guess I was lucky. GOOD LUCK

Erika - posted on 04/28/2010

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I had a c section and a spinal block...worked wonders for my second pregnancy. The epidural I had during my first kind of wore off before they started the section...just make sure they top you off!

[deleted account]

It felt so wonderful to have an epi. The horrible pain went away. When I was 10cm dilated, I started to feel the contractions come back.. but not bad at all. Like very mild menstrual cramps. I got scared that the epi was wearing off, but the nurse just told me it was because I was so close and the contractions were that strong. I could feel pressure while I pushed, and then the sensation of being stitched, but still no pain. I would HIGHLY recommend an epi! It made the whole experience better for me, because I could really enjoy it.

Kayla - posted on 04/28/2010

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My back hurt so bad for months after both mine, but I had to have it for my second, she was c-section! With my first I still felt the pressure but had to have an emergency c-section, cause of the epidurals effects on my first born!

Talicia - posted on 04/28/2010

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I was completely numb couldn't feel any of the pain or pressure for that matter, I pushed him out in 25 minutes. It worked for me

Talicia - posted on 04/28/2010

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I was completely numb couldn't feel any of the pain or pressure for that matter, I pushed him out in 25 minutes. It worked for me

Talicia - posted on 04/28/2010

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I was completely numb couldn't feel any of the pain or pressure for that matter, I pushed him out in 25 minutes. It worked for me

Talicia - posted on 04/28/2010

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I was completely numb couldn't feel any of the pain or pressure for that matter, I pushed him out in 25 minutes. It worked for me

Talicia - posted on 04/28/2010

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I was completely numb couldn't feel any of the pain or pressure for that matter, I pushed him out in 25 minutes. It worked for me

Talicia - posted on 04/28/2010

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I was completely numb couldn't feel any of the pain or pressure for that matter, I pushed him out in 25 minutes. It worked for me

Talicia - posted on 04/28/2010

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I was completely numb couldn't feel any of the pain or pressure for that matter, I pushed him out in 25 minutes. It worked for me

Kindell - posted on 04/28/2010

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I did not have any pain once I got the epidural. I felt slight pressure when it was time to push but it definitely wasn't painful.

Samantha - posted on 04/28/2010

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I just wanted to say prob a man came up with those statistics & that movie & u r prob 1 of those people who only labored & deliverd 4 like 5 hrs all 2gether if ur talking like that any1 can hav a baby without meds if ur labors fast but the ppl who have to lay around 4 a couple days just need rest & etc which is what an epidural does 4 u Im sayin this n reguards to::::

Betty Enzastiga
2:51 pm .If you are strong enough to have 4 kids without one, I would not risk the posibility of something going wrong with one. Have you ever watched The Business of Being Born? It gives great insight to the whole labor and birth process and has a lot of information about epidurals etc that I think you might find helpful. Good luck!

Kayleigh - posted on 04/28/2010

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for myself, I got one and I could still feel things on my rightside of my back, I was told that it was because of how the baby was laying and that if I were to lay on my side he would move and I wouldn't be able to feel things on that side. Which turned out to be true. After that all I felt was a bit of pressure but no pain at all for me.

Katerina - posted on 04/28/2010

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I had epi and I was very happy about it. It numbed me completely from my waist down. SO I could relax and even take a nap. After 6 hours was time so they lowered the epi down so I could have feelings and could push right. I felt the contractions and urges to push. The pain was very dull, not as much pain as pressure. Like at a dentist after numbing, you feel the work but not the pain. Love the effect of epi and wouldn't go without it next time again.

April - posted on 04/28/2010

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I got it at 8 cm with my daughter wore off at the end but that was a few hours after, with my son I was 6 cm when I got it and with in 20 minutes he was born, i still felt everything it just took the edge off and helped me relax. I have went in wanting to go all natural but I tense up with pain. We will see wiht this one I was also induced the my other two. I hope this one comes on her/his own.

Raquel - posted on 04/28/2010

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Taking the epidural does not hurt a thing.... but indeed after it you can still the pressure of the contractions.Nevethless much much less than without epidural!!!

Betty - posted on 04/28/2010

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If you are strong enough to have 4 kids without one, I would not risk the posibility of something going wrong with one. Have you ever watched The Business of Being Born? It gives great insight to the whole labor and birth process and has a lot of information about epidurals etc that I think you might find helpful. Good luck!

Betty - posted on 04/28/2010

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considering the side effects of an epidural not just to you
but also to your baby and the statistics of 50% increase in c-section rate with epidurals....have you tried relaxation methods or even hypno-birthing techniques?

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