Epidurals have a strange reputation. On one hand, they're seen as symptoms of an overeager medical establishment ready to pump everyone full of chemicals and remove the natural part of childbirth. On the other hand, they're still very common and definitely save women from a world of literal hurt by removing much of the pain involved in childbirth. If you're starting to become more certain that you want an epidural, there are some issues you need to know about and discuss with your doctor. If you don't, you could end up with a different procedure and experience than you were expecting.

Combination Procedures

Saying you want an epidural isn't enough; there are a few options, and you and your doctor need to settle on one particular one. For example, you might have a choice between a regular epidural and a spinal, which differ in where the pain medication is injected. Or, you could have a combination epidural and spinal, known as a combined spinal epidural and sometimes called a "walking epidural."

Because the injection sites and doses vary between procedures, you have to specify which one you want, though keep in mind that the hospital you choose to give birth in may have its own procedures that it will try to administer. Discussing all of this with your obstetrician first can help you figure out which hospitals may be better for you.

Potentially Increased Length of Labor

It is possible with an epidural for labor to be prolonged somewhat. Given that you won't be experiencing as much pain as you would be without the epidural, this might not be a concern for you. However, the extra time is often due to dulling of reflexes that help push the baby out at the end of labor. This can change depending on the dose and the type of epidural you get. Again, it's something you need to talk to your obstetrician about before you go into the hospital to deliver.

You Won't Be Walking With a "Walking Epidural"

One misconception is that walking epidurals or CSEs actually let you walk around, but chances are you won't be doing that. Technically, the CSE is light enough to allow for muscle and joint movement, but your doctor may prefer you to stay put to avoid complications.

It is vital that you get all the details of your delivery down pat before the actual day. It's too easy to leave the decisions to the last minute, which can result in conflict between you and the hospital staff, as well as procedures you don't want. Contact your obstetrician as soon as you can to schedule a time to talk. For more information, contact local professionals like George L Stankevych MD.