Doula Support During an Epidural
Doulas are about options in everything birth related. We do not have an agenda, and do not have a way birth should go. For each client we provide the same prenatal education about all comfort measures in the birth centers and hospitals, and all the options available during birth.
How an Epidural Works
The epidural is intended to lessen any sensations and feelings you may have between your rib cage and knees. Medicine is injected by the anesthesiologist into your spine that enters your spinal cord to numb your body. The medicine can feel cold as it travels down your leg, and takes about 15 minutes to start working. The epidural does not stop your body and cervix from preparing for birth, it simply makes it more comfortable for you during the process. You may feel nothing, you may feel more on one side or your body, or may feel everything just less than you would without the medication.
Having a Doula During an Epidural
Your body is still preparing for your baby to be born, so movement and gravity are still your friend, even if you have an epidural. However, you cannot get out of bed so your doula will help position you on the bed to progress your labor as much as possible and allow gravity to still help complete efface and dilate your cervix. Furthermore, doulas can massage your hands, feet, and hips to help with circulation, make sure you are well hydrated, and help position you so your back does not become too sore.
Regardless of if an epidural was or was not in your birth plan, after it is administered, your labor looks different than it did prior to the medication. For some, this is a welcomed relief and as doulas we are able to help our clients relax and look forward to next stage of labor. For others, an epidural was not in the birth plan, and we are there to validate those feelings and help clients process the myriad of other feelings and thoughts they may be experiencing.
A Few of Our Favorite Physical Comfort Measures During an Epidural
- Position a peanut ball between your knees while you are laying on your side to open the pelvis
- Massaging your feet to increase circulation
- Massaging your hips and low back to decrease tension on them from laying down
- Hip squeezes, especially if the epidural is less on one side
- Rebozo work to help move hips on the bed
- Counter pressure to help relax