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Question
Posted by: Capricorn | 2003/12/08

Epidural/ Spinal Block

Hi there

Is there a difference between a epidural and a spinal block. I was told that there is a difference in the two. That with the epidural you are expected to lie still for 24hrs where as the spinal block you can walk around sooner.

Also what can one take for the pain after the C section, because most of the medication can cause problems with breastfeeding later or is this just a faclicy.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageGynaeDoc

The anaesthetic is given at different levels of the space surrounding the spine as Kate has explained. A spinal anaesthetic only lasts a couple of hours, whereas an epidural lasts longer.
The usual pain relief is morphine. This does not interfere with breastfeeding.

Best wishes

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Our users say:
Posted by: www | 2003/12/09

Hi Capricorn - I had an epidural during the last minutes of giving birth normally (not c-section). 20-minutes after my baby was born I could move my legs and walk around and all-sorts, however, the aneasthetist did use his head and because I was already so far dilated going at a rapid speed, he only gave me about 20% of the dosage normally given, so I could push effectively and get mobile straight afterwards. It was really a blessing! If you're having a c-section however, I understand that the spinal block is the better option, but your gynae should be able to explain these 2 options and the pro's and cons with you.
Good luck

Reply to www
Posted by: Belle | 2003/12/08

I don't know what the difference is between a spinal block and an epidural but I had a epidural with both of my children and would recomend it to anyone. For the epidural they insert a thin tube between your vertabra which remains there for the entire delivery. If the contractions are stong you don't even feel it. It slowly drips in through the tube with a little valve that can be opened and closed. If it is closed the feeling starts to come back almost immediately. If the birth takes very long it can be topped up. The problem of course is that you can't feel properly when you do have to push though this did not cause any problems with my deliveries. The other thing is that you can't walk around because you can't feel your legs. The numbness is from just below your ribs and not up to your arms. This is because if they make it that high there is a chance that it will effect your lungs and they will collapse. so you will be able to hold your baby immediately. For pain afterwards you receive Voltaren suppositories, it sound bad but they realy do work and they are perfectly fine for breast feeding. If you have regular birth you can get up and go shower as soon as you get to your room afterwards. I had an emergency ceasar with my second child at 18:25 because the cord was around his neck and the next morning I got up by myself and went to shower, but this depends on you, the lady across from me didn't get up for 2 days but she was extremely stiff by then.

Reply to Belle
Posted by: Kate | 2003/12/08

The difference I understand is that the epidural is injected between your vertebra, the spinal block is injected between the vertebra and into your spinal cord. The epidural lasts for a number of hours, you are usually in bed the whole day. The spinal block wears off after a shorter period of time and although it is not recommended that you get up that day, you do regain your feelings.

Apparently both actually make you feel paralysed from the arms down. A friend of mine said that she had a spinal block and when she was wheeled into recovery after having the caeser, she was already experiencing the 'pins and needles' sensation of the feelings coming back. You are able to hold you baby soon afterwards as you will have strength back in your arms.

With regards to the painkillers, I haven't heard of them interfering with breastfeeding. The nurses do ask you whether you will be breast or bottle feeding before you have your baby. So they should be give you the appropriate medicine.

Best of luck!

Reply to Kate
Posted by: Jone | 2003/12/08

As far as I know, the spinal block...which is the preferred choice for c-sections is administered as a one off. The epidural is a constant flow so it can be topped up. Therefore with a spinal you dont have anything sticking in your spine during the procedure.
I think the effects are the same however.
I think pethadine is one of the std pain relief post surgically and is given whether breast feeding or not. It is only given once then std painkillers are given...which i found did nothing anyways.

Reply to Jone
Posted by: Purple | 2003/12/08

You can also put your question about the epidural/spinal block on the aneasthetist forum, though s/he takes longer to respond than gynaedoc.

Reply to Purple

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