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For those who delivered with an epidural...

Did your doctors let the epi wear off before you pushed? And when did you deliver?

My friend and I were talking, we delivered just days apart but in different hospitals. I had a wonderful birthing experience (twice actually) she had a horrid experience. Her doctors told her once she hit 9cm she couldn't have an epi (they removed it) because she had to be able to feel the contractions to push... My epidural wasn't removed til well after my babies were born, and I didn't ever have an issue pushing with it in (either time actually).

I had assumed my experience was normal, but after talking to her I'm starting to wonder... Why would they need her epi to wear off? Mine didn't need to, with either delivery, and we delivered literally days apart...

I know each hospital is different, but I was really shocked by the idea that they had to let it wear off... What was the point of getting it if you can't have it through delivery?

So I'm wondering which is more common? I know things were different years ago, which is why I'm also asking about when you gave birth... But I really want to know what is more common here...

Answer Question

Asked by SabrinaMBowen at 11:43 PM on Nov. 22, 2010 in Pregnancy

Level 40 (122,988 Credits)
Answers (16)
  • I had an epi and they waited until I started pushing and then when I couldn't feel enough to push well they turned it off. I think they do that so you can push the baby out. But if I had pushed better they probably would have left it on.

    Answer by mommytoJames512 at 11:45 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

  • I had an epi in '06 and again in '08. In '06, it didn't take quite right so I felt a lot of what was going on, but not everything. And in '08, it took fine and I didn't feel a thing.
    I've never heard of a doctor/hospital removing the epidural before the pushing stage. That seems odd to me.

    Answer by MommySteph06 at 11:49 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

  • Some women choose to let it wear off so they can feel their baby being delivered. Some women have difficulty pushing, because they can't feel how to push. Some women do fine pushing through an epidural (like you and I did). Every woman is different, and every labor is different. Plus, like you said, some hospitals have different policies. I have heard of policies where they let the epidural wear off to help a woman feel the pushing. Many women do have trou le pushing properly with an epidural (one of its many possible complications). Plus, if they do give it too late like that, it really increases the risk that she wouldn't be able to push effectively, because the epidural is strongest when it's first given. I don't know of any hospital that would allow a woman at 9cm to receive an epidural.

    Answer by musicpisces at 11:50 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

  • Also, they wouldn't REMOVE the epidural catheter until post-delivery, they would simply turn it down or off.

    Answer by musicpisces at 11:51 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

  • When I have been with a mom who had an epi, she sometimes had it lowered or removed so she could push upright, squat, change positions...
    It's really helpful to be able to work with gravity.

    Answer by doulala at 11:52 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

  • oh, I meant to also say that i haven't had one myself, that was why I answered from an external-witness perspective. lol.

    Answer by doulala at 11:53 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

  • Music - She DID get the epi, I guess they gave it to her about 4cm... But then they took it out when she hit 9. She didn't want it taken out and she tried to fight them on it...

    And doulala - she was still on her back, gravity is the last thing her hospital cares about... I would understand if they did things like that, but they flatten the bed and have dad hold up the legs, just like my hospital does...

    Personally I really hate the hospital she went to, everyone I know has had issues with them! EVERYONE! These are the same doctors who told my Grandmother (who had her last baby in the 90s) that she didn't need pain relief because of her age...

    Comment by SabrinaMBowen (original poster) at 11:59 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

  • I had my first in 2002. I had a light epidural that relaxed my midsection enough for me to make progress and speed up my labor, but I could still feel almost everything and I could still get up and walk. It stayed the same through my delivery. They didn't change anything.
    I had my second in 2005. This time I had a full epidural and I couldn't feel anything except pressure. I couldn't move my legs at all. I was totally numb when I was pushing (all of 6 minutes that time) and didn't feel anything when my son was born except the pressure.

    Answer by JulieJacobKyle at 12:08 AM on Nov. 23, 2010

  • Oh, and I delivered on my side the first time, because it was the most comfortable for me. The second time, I was almost sitting up, half off the bed. Since I pushed for such a short time, I had just sat up and stayed that way. I was never flat on my back.

    Answer by JulieJacobKyle at 12:09 AM on Nov. 23, 2010

  • I have had 3 epidurals and had them through pushing. I could move during it and had no issues with pushing. I could feel everything but it took the edge off of the pain.

    Answer by Melbornj at 12:11 AM on Nov. 23, 2010

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