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2 Bumps

What's the difference between an epidural and a spinal?


Asked by amessageofhope at 12:38 AM on Feb. 17, 2011 in Pregnancy

Level 23 (17,397 Credits)
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Answers (4)
  • An epidural and a spinal go in the same place. The difference: With an epidural, they place a needle into the epidural space, then thread a small catheter (tube) into the space and leave it there. They tape the catheter up your back and they can redose it as needed. With a spinal, they just place the needle in the space and inject medication directly in, and then remove the needle. Nothing stays in. They can't redose it. They'll usually use an epidural for labor and a spinal for a known c-section. Although, some people prefer the epidural for the c-section because they can leave it in for up to 24 hours after. The spinal is much quicker acting and more thorough numbing effect, so it is usually used for c-sections.

    Answer by fancyjane at 6:55 PM on Feb. 17, 2011

  • An epidural, when administered correctly, and with a low enough dose, can stop pain but still allow you limited use of your legs (no walking, but you can move them) -- but that the dosage can be turned up to provide a more numbing effect. A spinal block doesn't have different levels like that, it just completely numbs you from the ribs down -- no feeling, much less movement. The spinal also has an effect that makes you feel tilted on the operating table, which is very weird.

    I had no complaints with either.

    Answer by DragonRiderMD at 12:46 AM on Feb. 17, 2011

  • I had a spinal you have no feeling from the neck down. The epidural no feeling from the waist down.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:45 AM on Feb. 17, 2011

  • A spinal is the same thing but goes in deeper. An epidural is safer and with less complications afterward

    Answer by admckenzie at 12:40 AM on Feb. 17, 2011