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A 41-year-old member asked:

When is continuous lumbar epidural anesthesia used in labor?

3 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Karen Sibert
Anesthesiology 39 years experience
When needed: Epidurals can be requested by the mother in labor, and are often suggested by the obstetrician if labor is difficult and Pitocin (oxytocin) is needed to stimulate contractions. The epidural is usually not given until labor is well established and the cervix is 3-4 cm dilated.
Dr. Richard Pollard
Anesthesiology 30 years experience
Active Labor: A continuous lumbar epidural anesthetic is the anesthetic of choice on most patients undergoing labor in the us. The epidural is started once the mother is in active labor, and is then continued until the baby and placenta are delivered.
Dr. Elizabeth Wallen
Pediatrics 35 years experience
Labor pain: A continuous labor epidural is placed for relief of labor pain. Some places require the mom to be dilated to a certain number before it can be placed If the OB has determined that the labor pattern is well established, and the patient is requesting pain relief, an epidural can be placed. This is assuming there are no medical contraindications to placing an epidural.

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Last updated Apr 24, 2015
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