Fødeepidural - informasjonsskriv (engelsk)

24.09.2018Versjon 0.1

Epidural pain relief in labour.  

Women in labour can get epidural pain relief. Pain travels via nerve fibers to the spinal cord. «Dura» is the outermost of the three layers of the meninges surrounding the spinal cord. The epidural catheter is placed in the lower back, outside «dura», and the drugs influence the nerve fibers.

When can you have epidural pain relief?  

Epidural pain relief can start at any stage of labour. You have to lie or sit still during epidural placement. This can be difficult if the contractions are painful in the late stage of labour. The anaesthetist can be busy with other patients and sometimes the parturients have to wait for epidural pain relief.

Before placing the epidural catheter 

  • You will get an intravenous cannula in your hand or forearm.
  • You should lie on your side or sit with a round back.
  • An anesthetist puts local anesthetic in your skin.

Placing the epidural catheter 

  • An anaesthetist inserts an epidural catheter with an epidural needle into the lower part of your back near the nerves in your spine. Sometimes the procedure can be difficult because of overweight or other anatomical reasons.
  • After inserting the epidural catheter the anaesthetist injects anaesthetic through the catheter into the epidural space.

After the epidural catheter has been placed  

  • It takes about 30 minutes to get pain relief.
  • Epidural gives excellent pain relief in 80% of cases. Still in about 20% of cases the pain relief is not sufficient. Sometimes the epidural catheter can be reseated.
  • Usually you can move and walk with your epidural. Mild leg weakness can occur, but the legs should not get totally paralyzed.
  • The epidural pain relief does not hurt your baby.
  • You may develop low blood pressure, itching or a fever during the epidural.
  • Sometimes a bladder catheter is needed.
  • The first few days the back muscles can be sore.
  • Severe headache happens to 1 % of parturients with epidural and treatment is usually necessary.


Major side effects are very rare. If you suspect a side effect, please contact your midwife and she will ask an anaesthetist.