Mayo Clinic Health Library Article

 Back to Health Library
The epidural block

The epidural block

Epidural block — Understand this anesthesia for labor and birth.

If the video does not play, you may need to download and install the latest version of the Media Player plug-in.

Download Plug-in(Firefox)

Download Plug-in(Chrome)

Download Plug-in(Safari)

An epidural block is a common type of anesthesia for labor and delivery. During labor, a needle is placed in the epidural space, which is just outside the spinal canal. A small, hollow tube called a catheter is inserted through this needle. Once the catheter is in place, the needle is removed and medication is injected through the catheter to numb your lower abdomen and birth canal. It may take 10 to 20 minutes to feel pain relief from an epidural block. As labor continues, the medication can be adjusted to help keep you comfortable. Additional medication can be given through the catheter should your health care provider need to use forceps or do a vacuum delivery or C-section.


Find a physician

or Need Help Finding a Physician

Upcoming Events

Diabetes Screening
Thu, Jan 24, 2019 - 09:00 AM - 10:00 AM More
Blood Pressure Screening
Thu, Jan 24, 2019 - 09:00 AM - 11:30 AM More
Body Awareness
Thu, Jan 24, 2019 - 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM More
View all Events >>