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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There Are Different Degrees of Relief

Jeffrey Coolidge/Iconica/Getty

a Kristyn Kusek Lewis on Aug 3, 2012 at 4:00PM

Some moms want just enough pain medication that it takes the edge off but still allows them to feel each contraction, while others want to feel nothing from the waist down. Your anesthesiologist can accommodate the level of relief you're looking for, explains Dr. Camann, and many hospitals now even offer a little device with a button that you can push to administer more meds when you want them. This is called "patient-controlled epidural anesthesia."

Contrary to popular belief, the term "walking epidural" doesn't mean that you're expected to walk around during labor. The term simply refers to when you get a lower dose of the same exact drugs you're given in a "regular" epidural, which gives you the ability to move around -- and, yes, walk -- if you're inclined to do so.

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