How we help
To ensure the safest delivery for you and your baby we want to see you in clinic if you have any of the following:
- Weakness or numbness in the legs because of a back problem
- History of surgery for scoliosis, or have moderate to severe scoliosis currently
- Metalwork in your back following surgery
- Any history of brain surgery or a brain tumour, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, neuropathy, myopathy or poorly controlled epilepsy
- Severe breathing problems that needed hospital admission or severe asthma, cystic fibrosis or bronchiectasis
- Previous anaesthetic problems such as failed spinal or known intubation difficulties
- Unexplained severe allergic (anaphylactic) reactions
- Any other severe systemic disease such as severe SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), systemic sclerosis, liver disease, renal failure etc.
Please let your midwife know if you think you have any of these so you can be referred to our clinic.
People often worry about back pain in pregnancy and whether they can have an epidural. Please see our leaflet about anaesthetic information for people with back problems in pregnancy.
Pain relief in labour
We have many options available to help you manage your contractions. Read about pain relief in labour on our maternity pages.
Your midwife will be able to talk through your options in more detail to help you make a birth plan.
There is always an anaesthetist on the labour ward so let your midwife know if you have any questions.
Anaesthesia for Caesarean section
There are different forms of anaesthesia available for a Caesarean section. Some involve going to sleep and others are used so you can stay awake for the operation.
Your anaesthetist will discuss the options with you and explain the process.
Watch a video about what will happen during and after your anaesthetic.
- Epidural information card (labourpains)
- Management of a headache after a spinal or epidural (labourpains)
- Anaesthetic information for pregnant women with a high BMI
- Anaesthetic information for back problems in pregnancy
If English is not your first language, you can find helpful translated leaflets on the labour pains website.
Recovery from a spinal or epidural
It takes around 6 to 8 hours for feeling to come back after we insert a spinal block or remove an epidural. After this time, and if it is safe to do so, you can move and have your catheter taken out. It can take up to 24 hours for your sensations to return.
It is common to have itching or ‘pins and needles’ for 24 hours after a spinal or an epidural. Medications are available to help you with this.
You may have a small dressing on your back where you had the spinal injection or epidural. This can be removed after a few hours.
An anaesthetist may check your recovery the day after. If you are worried about your recovery, especially if you have a headache or your feeling and strength doesn’t feel right, please tell the labour ward or your midwife so they can put you in touch with an anaesthetist.