25 Sep Childbirth: How Do I Get My Epidural?
I say “Epidural”, you say “Labor!”.
Getting an epidural in labor is really common.
Maybe you expect one and would never consider life in labor without one!
Or maybe you’re trying to decide how you feel about this option and just want to know more about it.
Either way, this blog post is for you.
When looking at epidural literature, we usually only see the images of a laboring person in pain, followed by the same laboring person smiling in bed. But there are some steps to take, when going from Point A to Point Z and it can be helpful to be aware of what they are so you can be thinking about how you want to strategize the timing around your epidural request.
So let’s look at those.
Your first step will be to officially request your epidural.
This typically happens by you (laboring person) telling your nurse or care provider that you are ready for it, and they’ll get the logistics started for you.
The second step includes several sub-steps that fall between your official request and the administration of your epidural. Things like:
- Fluids. Your nurse will hang a large bag of IV fluid on your IV pole, and secure the line into your Hep or Saline Lock. This will be a requirement in order for you to receive your epidural and your anesthesiologist will not begin its administration until at least one full bag has been infused.
- Consent forms. Forms specific to your epidural procedure will be presented and you’ll be asked to sign in several places.
- Questions about your medical history. Your nurse will ask you some things, specific to their charting requirements, ahead of your anesthesiologist’s arrival in your labor room.
- One last visit to the toilet. Once your epidural is placed, you’ll remain in your bed for the duration of your labor. This is also a great time to take a few last laps around your room or utilize any upright positions you’ve been liking.
- Continued labor. You’ll continue to experience labor and need to incorporate your favorite coping techniques until your anesthesiologist has completed your epidural’s administration and you begin to feel relief.
The third step begins when your highly anticipated anesthesiologist enters the room with his/her epidural cart and gives you a warm hello. He/she will ask you a few questions, get the sterile field and equipment set up, and instruct you on where you need to be for the administration.
He/she will talk you through what’s happening and let you know when you can expect to begin to feel relief.
This third step then progresses into the fourth step which will include:
- You getting settled into your bed.
- Additional monitoring being established.
- The expectation that your pain continually decreases until you don’t feel it anymore.
Once you’ve traveled through this fourth step, you will have spanned the distance between Points A and Z, and approximately 30-90 minutes will likely have gone by since your initial request.
Our hope for you is that your epidural experience is exactly what you want it to be, and we look forward to supporting you through it.
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