*The term epidural is often short for epidural anesthesia, a form of regional anesthesia involving injection of drugs through a catheter placed into the epidural space. The injection can cause both a loss of sensation (anaesthesia) and a loss of pain (analgesia), by blocking the transmission of signals through nerves in or near the spinal cord.


Risks and common side effects of the epidural include:

1. Back pain at the site of injection. 100% of women experience localized tenderness. 10 -12% have back pain for up to three months post Birth. (However, it may last longer if their was a previous history of back issues.)

2.Maternal, and in turn baby, fever due to suppressed immune system.(Caused by the medication being administered via an open path directly to the spinal cord and the fact that most anesthetics are an immune suppressor, giving your body limited availability of healing white blood cells).

3.If develops fever, infant will spend more time in intensive care under observation. Which means: less bonding time, less skin to skin contact, more stress on breast feeding and returning to normality.

4. Incomplete pain relief- Epidural is subject to gravity, administering the medication through path of least resistance, causing random numbness with pain hot spots. Can affect only one side of body. ( Which in turn calls for more medication, increasing the usage and dosage, slowing the labor by increasing lack of feeling and an increase or lack of being able to ‘push’ with the rushes.)

5. Spinal Headache (1% of women get them)