Whats The Difference Between A Spinal And An Epidural

7 Replies
Evansmomma - February 8

I'm having a c section on February 16th due to my baby being breech. This is my first child, so I'm new at ALL of this. My doctor said he would rather do a spinal than an epidural. He told me some small differences, but I was wondering if anyone knew the difference from personal experience and what their preference is?


Leilani14 - February 8

Hi! Well In the end it comes to the same thing, but in general there are differences. Epidural is administered in sub spinal space for pain relief. Usualy a small catheter is inserted that enables continuous drug flow. A large needle is used to insert the catheter and that increases a possible side effect of severe headache. Spinal is administered in spinal space with much thiner needle and samller amounts of drug is necessary for numbing effect. When there is induction usualy they put in epidural for pain relief and after they deterimine that c-section has to be dome they can reuse the epidural catheter to deliver enough drugs tu numb waist down. If planned c-section is done and there is no need for prior pain relief the spinal is used since the possibilities of side effects is lower and it is more effective.Hope this helps


Kara H. - February 8

Everything Leilani said is right, but I thought I would elaborate that with an epi you can still have some movement in your lower body, even though you have significant reduction in pain perception. In a spinal you have zero pain perception and zero movement, but you can still feel a little bit of pressure when they push on your abdomen. My hands trembled for about an hour after the spinal, which is totally normal, and that was the only side effect that I had. No headache or backache.


punkin01 - February 18

OMG i knew the difference as far as placement but i didnt know that if it was a scheduled c that you got a spinal.....i have heard that a spinal is worse than an epi .......now i am worried.......i have already had a c and had an epi with it and my Dr has already said i was having a c with this one .......


sahmof3 - February 18

punkin... if it helps... I've had both an epi and a spinal (in two different deliveries) and they felt the same going in. When I first had my epi I could still feel my legs and all, but then they pushed the higher dose of meds through my catheter and numbed me and the spinal felt the same as that.


punkin01 - March 10

sorry i never responded but i never got notified that someone made a comment to my post ----anywho.....thanks that makes me feel better.....


moescrilla - March 14

thats very informative --- I've been wondering the same thing! I have a question ---I guess for those of you who had both epidural and spinal --- after they took the baby out and started to "clean you up" (moving your insides around) was it as uncomfortable either way, or did the spinal make it less uncomfortable/vice versa??? I had an epidural and it was sooo uncomfortable and sooo much pressure after the baby was out with them tuggin at all my stuff, I'm hoping a spinal will be better


Nerdy Girl - March 15

I never had an epi, only spinals. I didn't feel any pain at all when they were cleaning me up. I felt a ton of pressure during the actual birth, but not pain. It was a bizarre sensation. One thing that happened to me with both times I had a spinal was the sensation that I wasn't able to breathe properly. However, the spinal makes your chest feel heavy so you actually are breathing normally, but it feels weird. The anesthesiologist kept rea__suring me that she was monitoring my breathing and it was normal, and that it was just a sensation from the "heavy chest" feeling. It's best to stay calm and not panic because that makes the breathing thing even worse.



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