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How Will You Handle Your Labor Pain?

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Will I Feel Anything After Getting the Anesthesia?

Although you will feel significant pain relief, you may still feel mild pressure from your contractions. You may also feel pressure when your health care provider examines you.

Will I Have to Stay In Bed After Regional Anesthesia?

Not necessarily. Your anesthesiologist can tailor the anesthesia to allow you to sit in a lounge chair or walk. Walking or sitting may even help your labor. If you are interested, ask your anesthesiologist about a "walking epidural." Keep in mind, however, that your personal situation may not allow it.

Will Regional Anesthesia Slow My Labor?

In some women, labor and contractions may slow for a short period of time after regional anesthesia. Most women find that regional anesthesia helps them to relax and actually improves their contraction pattern while they rest.

If I Have Regional Anesthesia, Will I Be Able to Push?

Yes. Regional anesthesia allows you to rest comfortably while your cervix dilates. It should not affect your ability to push; instead, it will make pushing more comfortable.

Are There Any Side Effects to Regional Anesthesia?

Your anesthesiologist takes special precautions to prevent complications. Although complications are rare, some side effects may include:

  • Lower blood pressure. You will receive intravenous fluids and your blood pressure will be carefully monitored and treated to prevent this from happening.
  • Mild itching during labor. If itching becomes bothersome, your anesthesiologist can treat it.
  • Headache. Drinking fluids and taking pain tablets can help relieve headaches after regional anesthesia. If the headache persists, tell your anesthesiologist and additional medication can be ordered for you.
  • Local anesthetic reaction. While local anesthetic reactions are rare, they can be serious. Be sure to tell your anesthesiologist if you become dizzy or develop ringing in your ears so that he or she can quickly treat the problem.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH on July 20, 2014
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