We use cookies to give you the best possible online experience. If you continue, we'll assume you are happy for your web browser to receive all cookies from our website. See our cookie policy for more information on cookies and how to manage them.

Treatment: Epidural Anaesthesia in Labour

Epidural anaesthesia is a method of pain relief in labour. The anaesthetic is given through a catheter inserted between two of the vertebrae (bones in the spine) in the lower back. The tip of the catheter is put into the epidural space formed by membranes surrounding the spinal cord. The other end is taped to the shoulder, so that further doses can be given. The anaesthetic numbs nerves from below the waist, including those from the uterus. Intravenous fluids are given, and the baby’s heart rate is monitored.

Inside the spine

The procedure

The anaesthetic is given using a catheter. The tip of the catheter is inserted between two vertebrae in the back and into the epidural space below the spinal cord.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

Back to top

Search the
Medical Encyclopedia

Related Topics

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.