Epidural. Pros & Cons: Should I, Shouldn't I?

The thought of an epidural has never cross my mind,  I want as much of a natural birth as possible - I don't want any drugs in baby D’s system without a good reason! However after my last visit to the hospital all that has been thrown up in the air.

I was asked to come in and have a chat with the anaesthetist as I have a BMI of 41 which puts me in the “at risk” group whilst giving birth. Straight away she started her scaremongering routine. As I'm overweight I’m at risk for a difficult delivery, it would be too risky to be given a general anaesthetic, higher risk of Deep Venous Thrombosis... yadda yadda yadda!

She also informed that also due to my size it would be more difficult to locate the right part of the spine to put the epidural in and this would be why I would need one earlier on in labour as it can take a while to do. Then she made me bend over and touch my toes while she poked her boney fingers into my back to see if she would be able to put the epidural in and surprise surprise she could.

  • Able to go straight into the operating room if I need an emergency C section
  • Provides excellent pain relief
  • Helps you to relax

  • Long term migraines
  • Itchy skin
  • Urinary catheter has to be placed.
  • Slows down labour
  • Confined to bed
  • Inhibits the urge to push and makes pushing very difficult as you are numb from the waist down
  • Uncontrollable shivering
  • Sometimes several attempts are needed due to difficulty inserting
  • May cause nerve damage
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Makes it harder to breastfeed
  • Infection and bleeding

Have you had an epidural as pain relief for giving birth? Did you regret it, was there any side effects or are you totally against it altogether? I would love to hear your stories


  1. I had an epidural when I gave birth to my son nearly 15 years ago. I had never thought about having one, but when I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia it was recommended to help lower my blood pressure.

    I too (and still am) overweight when I was pregnant, although, BMI wasn't looked into from what I remember. The anesthetist was able to get the needle in the correct spot on the second try (after hitting a nerve on the first go), but I had to have the epidural turned off midway through labour as my blood pressure had gone too low...

    It was at this point that I felt all the contractions again, and had to power through them without pain relief (gas and air was no use for me). The epidural was turned back on and I was able to push my baby out into the world with guidance from the midwifery team in the delivery room.

    I can't say if the epidural slowed down my labour - I was induced and when I started having contractions, the epidural was put in, around 1pm. By 8:55pm my son was born. So, not that long I don't think and certainly no longer than the labour that my sister had giving birth to her daughter which she managed without any pain relief.

    Looking back, it was a necessity at the time for my medical wellbeing. Would I have one again? Probably. The relief when I was in established labour was heavenly, and I still felt the sensation as I gave birth - just not the associated pain!

    I can't say I have any side effects now, and nor do I remember any after the birth. But with all things pregnancy and birth it is up to the individual mother to be, and the medical side to be considered as well.

  2. I had an epidural in May after my blood pressure was high on my labour day and because the pain was becoming too much for me. Despite them finding it hard to site a needle for my drip, when it came to putting the epidural in, they managed first time and it didn't feel as bad as everything else I had been through up to that point. After about 40mins it started working and the relief was amazing. I felt like me again and was excited about the birth.

    I actually progressed from 2-3cm to 9cm in just 4 hours, after the epidural, so personally don't feel it did anything to slow things gown. The catheter wasn't a problem either - the midwife 'relieved' me when necessary and I felt nothing. It was hard when it came to pushing as I couldn't feel much and couldn't really pull myself up on the bed. This did lead to forceps and an episiotomy (which was the hardest part, afterwards, to deal with) but I'm still grateful for the epidural. Contractions weren't fun at all and I felt like a new person once the pain relief started working. I didn't feel drowsy or have any side effects that I know of.