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A 36-year-old member asked:

how bad do epidurals hurt? i'm afraid of needles and cannot stand the idea of a long needle going in my back, how bad does it hurt?

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Cheyenne Babcock
Anesthesiology 23 years experience
After : After hearing their friends' stories, many patients are surprised at how easy the epidural process goes. Usually the worst part of the epidural (ironically) is the local anesthetic that is used to make the procedure more comfortable. This is injected prior to placing the epidural needle, and burns for a few seconds before making the tissue around it numb. Also, some people feel a "zinger" as the needle or catheter brush close to one of the nerves in the spinal canal. There is no treatment for that specific issue, but it usually only lasts a fraction of a second. The most important thing is to tell your anesthesiologist what you are feeling without moving at all. To help get through this brief procedure, focus on these two things: the labor pain is about to get a whole lot better if not go away completely and you are that much closer to seeing your new baby!
Dr. James Henning
Anesthesiology 50 years experience
Minor Discomfort: You aren't alone in being fearful of needles! almost everyone shares this concern! that said, "local" anesthesia is used to numb the surface of your skin and underlying muscles so that epidural placement is comfortable. Experiencing sensations of movement and pushing will be common after "numbing" sets in but this should not cause you concern. Enjoy your pregnancy!

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Last updated Oct 3, 2016
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