This is part three of a series on epidurals. You can read part 1 here and part 2 here.
Do you like surprises?
If they’re not your favorite, especially during labor and delivery, read on.
One thing that has surprised some of my clients who have gotten epidurals is that once you get the epidural, you lay down flat on your back for a little while. This step of the process isn’t usually shown on tv (and it isn’t even discussed in the wikipedia article on epidural administration). But it is helpful to understand this step in order to understand what an epidural is like. And in this regard, it is just like a poke cake.
If you’ve never made a poke cake, let me tell you what it is and how to make it. It is a cake, poked several times with a dowel, then drizzled in gelatin or pudding and left to set before eating. But when you drizzle liquid on a cake, you wouldn’t want to tilt the cake; then more filling would end up on one side of the cake than the other! Instead, you make sure the cake is flat when you pour on the filling.
Same thing with epidurals. Once the anesthesia has entered your body, it can help to make sure it spreads evenly to both sides of your body and all the way from your waist to your toes (that way you are less likely to have a hotspot where the medicine doesn’t reach). If you lie down just after getting the catheter placed, you can use gravity to help you with that even spreading.