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Failed epidurals


During labour i was given two epidurals and neither of them worked even with a super duper dose. I'm just wondering if anyone else experienced this and knows why they can fail? I plan to have another baby in the future but no way can i go through it knowing i cant have an epidural, with my son I ended up being induced, forceps and episiotomy which was not fun with no epidural image

Im wondering who the best person to speak to about it is, maybe health visitor?

Nikola and Joe 9 weeks xx

p.s Sorry just wanted to add that I dont mean to scare any first time mums out there and that ive never heard of an epidural not working until now, so please dont worry!! x

[Modified by: Piahigsy on 04 February 2010 17:28:27 ]


  • I was in the same position hun. Same sort of labour induced, forceps and episiotomy (4 day labour). My epidural partially worked I had all my labour in one side.. and nobody could tell me why image I would suggest speaking to your midwife and tell her your fears. But hunny you might not need one next time. You might be alot more relaxed and in control.. knowing what to expect. Or you could try hypnobirthing I've heard great things about it...x
  • Hi,
    I too had a similar experience although I wasn't induced, I had a very long, drawn out labour resulting in forceps and episiotomy - my epidural had initially worked but that was short lived and I had a top up which didn't do much so went back to G&A. Basically, it is quite common for epidurals to become dislodged from there initial position therefore compromising there efficiency. It took my anesthetist 40 miniutes and 3 attempts to get mine in and Im pretty slim too! If you are concerned about your options next time, firstly, you can always get the anesthetist back to replace the initial epidural if you do get the same thing, secondly, they can perform a spinal block as an alternative - this is common for c-sections. Regarding it being one sided, it can be just down to your actual spine and the various "obstacles" that maybe present, such as fat, connective tissue etc that may be blocking it.

    I found the answers here btw:

    I keep telling myself that the next one will be fine, I am determined not to let my negative labour/birthing experience put me off having more!

  • mrs can u have a spinal block for a 'normal' delivery? i ahd ds by em c section and had spinal block after a failed induced labour, i ahted the pethidine and no one showed me how to use g&a until i was in theatre :roll: the spinal has made me more open minded about epidural's but i don't like the idea of dislodging it etc and i know the effects of a spinal, but i presumed a spinal block was purely for theatre procedures ? if next time g&a doesn't quite do the trick i will be avoiding pethidine, and in all honesty wld prefer the spinal to an epidural, but obv if i can't have a vbac with a spinal then an epidural wld be my other option x
  • I think epidurals are the preference as they are a continuous background infusion and can be "topped up" due to the line being in place for the duration. A spinal will only be guaranteed pain relief for a short (? how short) period of time, hence them commonly being used in surgery. It would have to be something to discuss with your mw when you fall pregnant next time.... however, do bear in mind that epidurals/spinals can only be performed by anesthetists and the labour ward can only have so many at one time so you aren't guaranteed it as a pain relief when you do go in. I got on really well with g&a to be honest - you either love it or you hate it! But I never had the pethidine, by the time I was transferred in I just wanted to go straight for the epidural!

  • yeh i know, about an hour before they decided to do the em c section i asked for epidural but the anaesthetist was already in surgery, by the time one was free they were wheeling me in to theatre myself lol. i didn't hate g&a, just no one showed me how to use it, the anaesthetist showed me as he was doing my spinal, wld've been handy had someone showed 6 hours earlier lol as it may well have been fine....but it was all a bit weird to start with, after the syntocin drip was put in and it was kicking in good and proper they asked if i wanted pain relief, i said yes g&a, she said no peth or epi, when i queried her she said it was cos i was only 2cm, so not established, it still confuses me to this day cos surely going by that rule i wasn't allowed anything??? anyway, i went for the peth and then 10mins after she gave me that she wheeled the bloody g&a thru, if i knew i only had to wait 10mins then i wld've waited it out! stupid woman! grr. x
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