Epidurals 101: Everything You Need to Know About Pain Relief During Childbirth

Whether you're sure you want pain relief during birth or just want to be prepared for a last-minute decision, here's what you need to know about having an epidural (17 Photos)

Kristyn Kusek Lewis on Aug 27, 2012 at 4:35PM

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It's Not a Shot in Your Spine

Justin Lambert/Workbook Stock/Getty

a Kristyn Kusek Lewis on Aug 3, 2012 at 3:58PM

Fear not! An epidural isn't getting a bunch of meds injected into your spinal cord. The catheter actually goes into a sort of "compartment" of space outside the spinal cord, called the epidural area. "Moms are sometimes terrified that if they move even the slightest bit, or have a contraction during the epidural, then the needle will move and they'll become paralyzed or something," says Dr. Siegenfeld. "The truth is that we're not putting the medication directly into your nerves, so we can do an epidural even while you're having major contractions."

Next Up: Wish We'd Known: 14 Things No One Told Us About Labor
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