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Difference between spinal block & epidural


I've been talking to some friends who have recently had babies and one mentioned she'd had a spinal block.

Does anyone know what the difference between a spinal block and epidural is?




  • I had to fight for my spinal for my c-section.
    They automatically wanted to give me an epidural. I think they only really use the spinal if it is an emergency one or there are medical reasons ( as with me) that mean the mother can't have the epi.

    With the epi you just go numb, and it takes a bit longer, but the spinal makes your feet etc go all hot b4 it numbs it. Odd feeling apparently. Also the recovery of feeling is quicker with a spinal.
  • Hi, I had a spinal block topped up with an epidural. The spinal block took effect instantly, whereas I think an epidural can take up to 20 mins to kick in. I think a spinal is given as a one-off dose though, whilst an epidural can be topped up regularly. It was the epidural that was topped up (which meant I couldn't feel my legs at all) before I was taken to theatre, in case I had to have a c-section- fortunately the ventouse and forceps worked though!
  • Hiya I had both.
    During my labour I had an epidural (I laboured up to 6-7cm dilated) and it took effect instantly. I could feel my legs as normal and move them around (probably couldn't have walked though), the only difference was all the pain vanished - yay!
    An epidural is not as strong as a spinal block - they actually limit the dose when you need to push so you can feel when to.
    I had an emergency section in the end and had a spinal as I could feel it with the epidural (or at least I was paranoid I could!). The spinal completely paralyses you and you cant move or anything until it wears off (in my case about 4 hours.) after that I was walking around etc. Spinals are more used for c sections & sometimes for forceps/ventouse delivery. x
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