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Epidural or spinal??

Hi Ladies!
I'mm 11 weeks pregnant with my 3rd child and I'm having an elective c-section because both of my babies have been back to back, really long, drwan out labours and ended up in Theater and delivered by forceps. I had a 3rd degree tear both times and the dr says if I have another natural birth and end up tearing again I wont ever heal properly. I'm relieved that I'm having a c-section this time because both of my labours were really traumatic and with my last one (only 4 months ago!) I didnt get to have any pain relief as Theo's heart rate dropped and my bp dropped so they literally had to fold me down on the bed and cut me and pull him out with forceps.
I had an epidral with my first and it was horrible, It took ages and was realy painful. I did have on with Theo and it went in ok but I dont really know what happened as it stopped working after about an hour no matter how much they topped it up. I was just wondering whether you tend to have an epidural or a spinal block for a c-section? I would rather have a spinal block as I've had such a bad experience with epidurals. I'm due july 14th so have a long time to think about it!
Also whats the recovery like after a c-section? I wil have a 5 year old and an 11 month old plus a newborn to look after but will have lots of help from my husband, mil and mum.


  • hi carley!!

    congrats on your 3rd preg!!

    there is a slight difference in a spinal and an epidural, but nearly all elective c/s are done under a spinal. the needle is thinner, and it goes into a different space in the spine (the same area / the same pushing feeling at your lower back etc). the type of anaesthetic is also often slightly different. it works a lot quicker too.

    otherwise, to you, you wont feel a great deal different - the risks are the same really - risk of low BP, feeling sick, going to high, failing etc.

    i would say that they do work better, but you will be warned that in a small percentage of cases, it wont, so they will either retry, or have to do a GA. this is usually a last resort tho- usually as an emergency.

    i had 3 spinals - with my first they had to get in quick, and altho i could feel the sensation of the cut etc, it didnt hurt at all (i was supposed to tell them if i could feel anything, but not a chance - as i said, it wasn't painful at all!!)

    the second was perfect - nothing felt, no problems at all!

    the third - nothing at all felt, but unfortunately my BP dropped to 34/17 and i felt horrific!! - the block was bit too high, so i had to sit up as soon as they'd done, and i had drip/ medication for my BP

    most go without a problem, so dont worry about the spinal!

    as for the c/s - as queen bee says, they are not too bad, and you can be up and about pretty quick. i would say, dont do too much - listen to your body, but dont do nothing - you'll get stiff very quick, then it does become painful! - tbh, i'd rather have a c/s than a 3rd degree tear, and you've had 2!

    pain relief- most places put a diamorphine mix in the spinal, so you wont need anything for a good while and then they often give you Oramorph - a morphine solution. paracetamol & voltarol / ibruprofen are very good too!!

  • hey hun, my c-section was classed as elective because it wasn't an emergency even tho it needed to be done but there was no rush cuz baby was ok if u know what i mean...i had a spinal, i think electives are mostly done with spinals as ollier says!

    my recovery was brill, i had JJ on the wednesday lunch time, was sat out in chair for visiting at 7, completely mobile the next day and i was home by friday tea time! i had no pain at all after it, even tho i was only taking paracetamol and even felt no pain when the scar got infected a week later! x
  • I had a spinal with my c - section 5 weeks ago and it was fine, i liked that you didnt have the needle stuck in your back aswell like with the epidural it was just one shot in your back and done, then they kept spraying my sides and under my arms with a cold spray until i couldnt feel the cold to make sure i was numb, a very strange sensation!! i didnt feel any pain sorry thats a bit obvious isnt it image but could feel all the tugging and them putting in the stitches which was quite unpleasant but i guess its the same as a natural delivery as soon as its over you forget all about the pain! and the recovery was really good, it would be a bit harder with two other young children as you wouldnt be able to lift them for a good few weeks but as long as youve got help from oh and mil you will be fine image how is wee theo doing?
    xx jess and joshua
  • thanks for all your replies everyone, you've made me feel much better about it all. I was really scared of having another epidural becuase my first 2 were so rubbish, so I'm relived that I'll probably be having a spinal.
    I'm seeing my consultant in march to confirm my c-section so will get to talk to her about it all then.
    When do you usually get a date?
  • that depends tbh!!

    some you get very early on, some about 4 weeks before - depends on your doctor, and when they choose to book it!

    my last was booked at 20 weeks, but i know of loads of girls that only find out 2 weeks before!
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