How Late is Too Late for an Epidural?

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et al

Q: Is it ever too late for an epidural?

A: You may have heard that it’s best to receive an epidural in early labor because you won’t be able to receive one in late labor. It’s true that if your labor is progressing quickly and birth is anticipated within thirty to sixty minutes, your caregiver may recommend against an epidural. However, if labor progress is slow, it’s possible to receive an epidural even during transition or the second stage. If comfort techniques are helping you cope, don’t feel that you have to get an epidural in early labor because you fear it’ll be your only chance to get one. Keep using comfort techniques for as long as they help you manage contractions. If you decide later that you want an epidural, it’s very likely that you’ll be able to get one.

Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, Fourth Edition

© copyright Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

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