Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Epidural Placement for Labor
Epidural anesthesia involves putting a sterile guide needle and a small
tube (epidural catheter) into the space between the spinal cord and outer
membrane of the spinal cord (epidural space). The epidural catheter is placed
at or below the waist.
The guide needle is inserted and removed,
while the catheter remains in place. The catheter is taped in place up the
center of your back and at the top of your shoulder.
medicine is injected into the catheter to numb your body below the insertion
site. The amount of discomfort or pain that you have depends on the amount of
anesthetic used. Less anesthetic (often called a light epidural) will allow you
to be more active in your labor and feel enough to push effectively. With
higher levels of anesthetic, you will feel little or no pain from your
contractions. You may be required to remain in bed when an epidural is
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofMay 22, 2015
Current as of:
May 22, 2015
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
I Want To...
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.