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Epidural - series—Procedure, part 1

Procedure, part 1

Overview

Your understanding of what happens during labor and delivery as well as your attitude toward it - affect the amount of pain you feel while giving birth. The breathing methods and relaxation techniques you learn in childbirth-education class may reduce your need for pain medication, but you won't know whether you'll need drugs until you're in the delivery room.

The most common form of pain medication used in labor is an epidural block. During the procedure, anesthetic is injected into the epidural space near your spinal cord, temporarily numbing your lower body.

Update Date 7/28/2014

Updated by: Cynthia D. White, MD, Fellow American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Group Health Cooperative, Bellevue, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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