Epidural 101

9 Important Things You Need To Know About Epidurals During Labor

Is an epidural apart of your birthing plan? Do you want to know more on the process of receiving epidurals during labor?  Well if you said yes, I’m happy to share with you my epidural experiences so that you can have an idea what to expect during delivery. 

I’m 2 kids in and always knew that an epidural would be apart of my birthing process, since finding out I was pregnant.

It may seem like an oxymoron, because I’m not a fan of pharmaceutical medicine. However, when I was younger, I used to love a documentary TV show called, A Baby Story. It’s a show that aired in the late 90’s documenting families filming their labor and delivery process and when it came to labor, I always feared the pain of giving birth.

Fast forward, 20 years later, I never bothered to research much about actually receiving an epidural because I already knew what to expect.

Or did I?

Keep reading as I share helpful information that you can use if your considering an epidural for pain management during you labor and delivery journey.

9 Things you MUST know…

Here’s things I didn’t know (or expect) when receiving epidurals during labor, that you should know before going into labor:

1- There’s No Dilation Requirements

I went in thinking you had to be a least 6 cm dilated before receiving an epidural. But I was wrong.

I was inducted, both times. So when checking in and getting IV’s, my nurses informed me I could get an epidural as early as I needed.

Now, if I’m being completely honest, I thought I wasn’t going to need one. Because all throughout the first few hours, my nurses were telling me that I was contracting and I didn’t feel a thing!

So I said if this is what labor pains feels like, I got this… NO PROBLEM!

BUT, that was until my water broke 🤬!

2- The Drip Comes First

After my water broke, I was sweating bullets, LITERALLY.

After the first hint of pain, I requested for the epidural that my nurses kept asking me if I wanted (in the beginning), as if it was in the back room.

Little did I know, they would have to set me up to an IV and the fluid bag would have to be completely empty before moving to the next steps, which was being added to “The List”.

Before we get into “The List”, let’s finish talking about the IV, which takes about 45 minutes to 1 hours to complete, but during labor, it seems like it took 2-3 hours.

3- You must go on “The list”

Now, let’s get into “The List”…

What’s the list? The list is where your name goes, in the order of which it’s received, letting the doctor know you’re ready to receive your epidural. 

One thing you might not realize or think about in advance, there’s other deliveries in progress. Therefore, there’s names of everyone else who at some point requested their epidural and are scheduled to receive one before you.

4- Getting the epidural is less painful than the contractions

One thing I always feared from epidurals was being paralyzed from movement. I was thinking, does movement happen because of pain/needle injection? What type of pain can this be that would cause anyone to move?

From my experience, it’s more of a sting and movement down your back, verses a pain. That feeling last for less than 5 minutes and then you can relax once the epidural has been placed.

5- The hospitals serve bottomless epidurals

Bottomless epidurals mean there’s no limit to the amount of medication you can receive. They give you the medicine pin and you can administer it whenever you need (if you feel the numbness wearing off)!

6- No Pain, but you gain hemorrhoids

My first delivery, from the waist down I felt NOTHING! I was numb as a naked woman sitting in ice snow in Antarctica!

Therefore, I couldn’t feel myself push!

My doctors and nurses told me I was a great pusher, but I couldn’t feel anything going on. They were the ones telling me my progress and when to go/stop!


With that being said, I didn’t realize how hard I was pushing to deliver. I didn’t expect the pushing stage to take as long as it did (because of TV); therefore I was anxious and wanted to hurry and get that part over! So I PUSHED and PUSHED and PUSHED so hard until I got hemorrhoids!

7- …And then there was pain

After having my first, I was ready for #2! I was a pro with a plan!

So, as soon as I checked in this time, I scheduled for my epidural. But like they say, tell God your plans, so He could laugh!

I must have chose the wrong hours to get on “the list” because the anesthesiologist on duty that night was unable to get it done!

It took about 1 hour of him trying about 3 times and me finally telling him not to continue because I didn’t want him to force anything and it cause issues.

The anesthesiologist was a vet (very experienced), but admitted to being tired and wanting to let the next doctor on shift come in with fresh, well rested eyes to try placing the epidural.

I was nervous for the next 6 hours because I thought I was going to have to go natural this time around.

But nope, the next doctor on shift was able to get it done and I had my epidural in place prior to my doctor breaking my water.


I went through my entire epidural and had to get more, because I was pressing that button like crazy because I thought it wasn’t working!

My nurse reassured me the epidural was working and that as long as my pain level reduced, the medication was doing what it was supposed to do!

So my second time around, I felt level 4 painful contractions, every push, every ripe, tear and stitch. I even felt myself pooping (and the doctor, cutting it off with her finger)! Sorry for the TMI, so yup- Pooping on the table is VERY REAL!

But this time around, I didn’t get hemorrhoids, as I felt the intensity of every push.

8- It takes hours to feel again

After delivery, your happy and exhausted, but you will be considered “a fall risk” because it will take a few hours to get feelings back in your legs.

9- Side Effects

Just like everything when it comes to medication, there can be side effects and one of my babies seemed to be really drowsy and took a minute to latch.

Final thoughts on Epidurals during labor:

Every labor and delivery experience is different, but it’s great to have some level of preparation so you can feel more at ease. I hope you use the information as research and ask your doctor for their hospital policies so you can have an idea of what to realistically expect.

Epidurals during labor

Before You Go… One more thing

So now that we got that out of the way, as you know, epidurals are one of the many ways to mange pain during your birthing experience. This is often times documented before hand in your birthing plan.

Although birthing plans aren’t a requirement, your delivery team will ask if you have one, it can serve as directives for certain stages of your labor and delivery; and it helps to create the birthing experience you desire. If you would like to create one, there’s plenty to consider throughout Google; therefore I wont reinvent the wheel because I don’t think I can add much more value for you.

HOWEVER, I did create a list of important areas to ensure you include in your birthing plan.

epidurals during labor

If this blog helped you, please share it, so it can help countless of others during their labor process!

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