Can an epidural during labor cause paralysis? I'm concerned that having an epidural during labor can cause paralysis. Is there a substancial risk involved?

Extremely Rare. And even then, the more experienced the anesthesia provider, the less likely such a rare event will occur; 20-30 years can easily pass on a busy labor and delivery ward without either a penetrating injury, an epidural bleed or an abscess happening (causes of paralysis). Have a look at this detailed summary: http://www.Allaboutepidural.Com/main-content/can-i-get-paralyzed-from-epidural.
It . It is scary to think of that needle going into your back! but there are some things most people don't know about that might ease your concerns. First, the spinal cord only goes about2/3 down your back, after that there is just a loose bundle of nerves. Epidurals (and spinal taps) always go below the spinal cord. There is plenty of room for a little needle in there. Second, an epidural does not even go inside the "dura", which is the coating around the nerves. The whole point of the epidural is to avoid the nerves with the needle. Third, although a needle is used right at the start, it is removed once the spot is found, and only little rubber catheter stays behind. It is true that sometimes an epidural causes pain when it's getting started (though nothing like the pain the woman is feeling from other sources). But there is little reason to fear being paralyzed. The medication they put in with that rubber catheter is just like novacaine at the dentist -- it wears off. There are some other risks involved, like infection, or accidentally going through the dura, but these are not permanent and do not cause paralysis. Other problems some people worry about are that c-section rates might be higher. You would have to talk with your OB about that one. But from a neurological standpoint, my own wife had 2 epidurals, and i wasn't worried about paralysis with either one.
Unlikely. In theory it is possible but exceedingly rare. Learn more at drdavidsherer.Com.