Anesthesiologist Questions Pregnancy

Are there any side effects of an epidural injection?

I am pregnant with my first child, and of course am nervous about giving birth. I am also nervous about getting an epidural. Are there any side effects of an epidural injection?

4 Answers

There are things for the anesthesiologist to be aware of and treat if they occur. That’s our job. The extremely serious risks occur much more rarely. In general, the benefits from the epidural far outweighs it’s risks
There are POTENTIAL side effects which your anesthesiologist will tell you about. Don't be nervous. If you're giving birth in a relatively busy hospital, it'll be very smooth. Any side effects are highly unlikely, most common side effects are also very benign and don't cause any damage if you are concerned about that.
Many epidural anesthetics are administered daily for labor pain. Rarely are there any ill effects. Sometimes, however, a persistent headache occurs. These headaches usually resolve in 2-3 days, but may require an additional injection as treatment. Pain at the site of the epidural injection is also a possibility, though no treatment is usually needed and the pain resolves on its own.
The best side effect is reduced pain of childbirth. However, there are some that say it can slow the second stage of childbirth. Also, it can cause a lowering of your blood pressure but as long as that is minimized then I think the risk to you and your child are low.