An epidural is an injection in your back to stop you feeling pain in part of your body.
An epidural is a procedure that injects a local anaesthetic in to the space around the spinal nerves in your lower back.
This anaesthetic usually blocks the pain from labour contractions and during the birth very effectively. With an epidural you can usually move and can push your baby out when you need to.
An epidural is usually done by an anaesthetist.
Epidurals are given by a specialist doctor called an anaesthetist.
You're usually awake during an epidural, but for some types of surgery you may have it while under general anaesthetic.
epidural (30% in 2018 and 31% in 2019)
Can have epidural at any point
Better at relieving pain than opioids
Not linked to a longer first stage of labour or an increased chance of having a caesarean section
Epidurals are usually safe, but there's a small risk of side effects and complications, including:
low blood pressure, which can make you feel lightheaded or nauseous
temporary loss of bladder control
Won't be able to move around as much after a few top-ups
Epidurals are linked to longer second stage of labour and an increased chance of assisted birth
Only available in hospital, as it needs to be given by an anaesthetist. You'll be monitored more closely in labour
Side effects, can include low blood pressure, loss of bladder control, itchy skin, feeling sick, headaches, infection and nerve damage.
It involves injecting a small amount of anaesthetic
into the epidural space of the spine. The
epidural space is filled with fluid and surrounds
the spinal cord. It is topped up when needed
and numbs the nerves that carry the pain
impulses from the birth canal to the brain. Kicks in 10-15 mins.