The Right Time For an Epidural May Be Whenever Mom Wants It

   By SheSpeaksTeam  Oct 13, 2014

Moms-to-be all experience labor pains differently so it makes sense that some women request epidurals earlier than others. But women in labor are often told by nurses and doctors that they must wait to get the pain-relieving epidural until they have progressed further. A new study now suggests that doctors don’t always know best and should grant their patient’s request for an epidural no matter what part of labor they are in.

Health Day reports about a study from a Singapore women’s hospital that suggests women who have early epidurals are no more likely to require a c-section than women who have epidurals after they are 5 centimeters dilated.

Researchers involved in the study analyzed data from 9 previous studies that looked at 15,000 first time moms, with some assigned to receive their epidurals before 4 and 5 centimeters dilated and others when they had further progresses. Women in both groups were no more likely to have complications during labor that required a c-section, use of tools like suction or forceps, or lengthier pushing times.

In the past it was thought that if a woman was given an epidural too early it could mean a greater chance of complications that could lead to a cesarean delivery. But lead researcher Dr. Ban Leong Sng believes new data proves this is not the case. Sng says, “The right time to give the epidural is when the woman requests pain relief. If they request an epidural early during their labor, the evidence we have does not provide a compelling reason why this should be refused.”

What do you think of the recent study that suggests women who request epidurals early on in their labor should not have to wait?

Do you think having an epidural too early can lead to complications in the birthing process?

Make a Comment

Lesleykh by Lesleykh | COLORADO SPGS, CO
Jan 17, 2016

I'm not too sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Personally during my labor I got my epidural too early and when it was time to push to give birth it ran out. I kept on pushing the button for more meds but nothing was coming out. When the doctor checked, they said I had to get more but it was too late already. So maybe the later the epidural the better.

lovelyprincess by lovelyprincess | MEMPHIS, TN
Oct 25, 2014

I had it twice. With my first the doctor told me when he thought was the best time to get an epidural and I ened up having a c- section done. And with my second I told them when I was truly ready for it and ended up ding a successful VBAC and proud that I had my second naturally.

sassygirl13 by sassygirl13 | GREENSBORO, GA
Oct 22, 2014

I think that it would still be best to go with the doctor's recommendation. I had my epidural probably between 7-8 cm and it did bring a little relief but eventually I had to feel the contractions so I could push (in cases of normal delivery). One thing that scared me about the epidural was the fact that I experienced initial tachycardia (>100 beats/min) when the anesthesiologist gave me my first shot. We all experience pain in different levels. In case of labor, it's still best to ensure that the dilations are coming according to schedule before initiating an epidural.

dlombard23 by dlombard23 | charlotte, NC
Oct 15, 2014

Having an epidural can affect women differently so I can only speak from my experience. I did not have any complications and I was never once told that I could not have an epidural whenever I was ready. The only concern the hospital had was that the entire L&D was booked that day so I needed to let them know for sure because if I waited too long there was no guarantee the anesthesiologist could get to me when I was ready and it could get to the point of being too late to receive one.