|

Spinal Blocks for Pain Relief

Spinal block

This is similar to an epidural in that a needle is put in your back and pain relief is achieved by blocking nerve fibers that supply the pelvic organs. However, in a spinal block, the needle is passed through the epidural space to pierce the membrane covering the spinal cord (the dura) so that anesthetic can be injected into the fluid around the spinal cord; no tubes are left in place. The needle used for a spinal block is smaller than that used for an epidural, which means it's less painful to insert. There is still a risk of a headache as with an epidural (see An epidural "headache") and the side effects should be treated the same way.

A smaller dose of anesthetic is needed and it works very quickly: pain relief is almost immediate, whereas an epidural takes 10-20 minutes. However, the use of a spinal block is limited because only a single dose of medication can be administered. As a result, spinal blocks are usually reserved for use during a cesarean, or for an assisted delivery when an epidural isn't in place.

Combined spinal epidural (CSE) or "walking epidural"

This involves both a spinal injection and putting an epidural in place. It's sometimes done when problems are encountered with an epidural (see Epidurals) and is also used for a cesarean. A CSE gives pain relief throughout labor. However, it's a specialized technique and isn't offered in all units.

excerpted from:

Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
Buy this book now!

Pregnancy Day by Day

Tell us your due date to receive our daily newsletter and find out what is happening in this day of your pregnancy!

Already a member? Log-in here

Name of the Day

stay connected

highlights

Printable Fall Fun To-Do List
Celebrate the cooler weather with this printable checklist of fun fall activities for your whole family.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top 10 Care Package Items for College Students
Show your college student that you love and miss her by mailing a care package full of dorm room essentials and comforting treats. Whether it's her birthday, exam time, or just because, get care package ideas to brighten her day.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

© 2000-2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved.