When it comes to birth, you will find few topics more hotly debated than the subject of epidurals; whether or not the people talking have any experience with them whatsoever. Should you get one? Should you not get one? Opinions can get loud and kind of obnoxious on both sides of the fence, despite the fact that the only opinion that matters is that of the pregnant person in question. When moms describe what getting an epidural feels like, you often hear a similar back-and-forth because — to the shock of all that could possibly be shocking — every birth is different, every new mom is different, and everyone experiences pain and relief from pain in their own, unique way.
An epidural refers to epidural anesthesia, administered by an anesthesiologist, that blocks pain to designated parts of the body. An estimated 60% of American mothers use an epidural to ease labor pain. After being numbed with a local anesthetic with a regular looking needle, a very large, scary-looking needle is placed into the area surrounding your lower spinal cord. A thin catheter is then placed and the needle is removed. The catheter will continue to deliver anesthetic while you continue to labor, numbing you (to varying degrees of severity) from about the waist down. That, in a nutshell, is about as universal as the experience can possibly get.
When it comes to how exactly an epidural feels going in, what it feels like after, whether someone celebrated or regretted their decision, one can only speak to their own experience. However, as with anything having to do with birth and parenthood in general, other people's experiences can be helpful to hear when you are wanting to learn more information. So, I asked a group of moms to share what getting an epidural felt like for them.