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  1. #1
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    Apr 2012
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    17

    Epidural not taking effect

    The day I gave birth to my daughter I will never forget. I went in labour at about 5 in the evening and only went into the hospital at 9 that night. I had to have an emergency C-section done as I only dilated 3 cm and the contractions were about a minute apart. They gave me an epidural but it didn't seem to take effect They started cutting and I felt everything so I asked them to knock me out completely. Is it unusal for an epidural not to take effect?

  2. #2
    Hi Bridge85,

    I'm sorry to hear about your birth experience. I'd say that it is probably more on the "rare" side that epidurals don't take effect, but I have heard of this happening before so maybe not as rare as we are lead to believe.

    In the future, there are lots of ways to decrease your need for a C-section, AND there are many doctors who will do a vaginal delivery after C-Section. I'll ask Jane to take a look at your post and give you some pointers on what you could do in the future to lower your risk of needing intervention again, and increase your chances of being able to have a wonderful vaginal birth.

    There's a good book called Preparing For Birth: Mothers. It discusses complications and obstetric interventions, not readily available elsewhere, which is central to enabling informed choice by parents. It's also presented in an "easy to read" format. The more you know about how to avoid complications and interventions the better prepared you will be for your next birth.

    Warm Regards,

    Kate

  3. #3
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    aussiemidwife's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
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    Sydney, Australia
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    428
    Hi Bridge - I am sorry you had an awful experience. Unfortunately an epidural doesn't always work. In fact they are only work around 90% of the time. Prior to a caesarean and anaesthetist usually checks the effectiveness of the epidural using ice. For those epidurals not working correctly many of them can be fixed prior to surgery. For those that are not working a general anaesthetic is the only option.

    If you choose to have another baby. Here are some tips on avoiding a future caesarean birth:
    • Choose your caregiver carefully (Midwives have the lowest caesarean rate)
    • Choose your birth place carefully (some hospitals have much higher intervention rates that others)
    • Have continuous support during labour for yourself and your partner (i.e. a private midwife or doula)
    • Learn about labour and birth
    • Avoid intervention in labour
    Hidden Content aussiemidwife
    Moderator Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond
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  4. #4
    Dear Bridge85,

    I am so sorry to hear about your birth experience. That must have been very scary.

    As Jane says above, epidurals are ineffective in around 10% of cases. Indeed, a friend of mine experienced the epidural not working. This is why it is important for the anaesthetist to check it has taken effect.

    I wonder if you have thought of considering Hypnobirthing in the future? This is known to reduce the chance of having a caesarian because dilation tends to happen more quickly (and the contractions are more effective) when a woman is relaxed. I mention it as it is something I am currently researching for my next birth.

    Best wishes,

    LJ

  5. #5
    Excellent suggestions my Jane and LJ! So important to choose your care provider and hospital carefully. If you want more ideas on how to go about doing this, post back, and we will be happy to share.

    Warm regards,

    Kate

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