Labor Pain-Relief Primer

Spinal Analgesia (also called "intrathecal analgesia")

How It's Given

Drugs are delivered directly into the spinal fluid through a needle that's much smaller than those used to insert an epidural catheter.

What It Does

Pain relief to the pelvic area begins immediately. However, the injection lasts only one to two hours and may have to be repeated if labor is prolonged.

Things to Consider

  • Patient is usually able to walk around.
  • A woman may develop an intense itching on her body (most often the face, chest, and arms) for 10 to 20 minutes; it generally goes away on its own.
  • If spinal fluid leaks from the puncture point, you may suffer a severe headache within 24 hours after delivery. This occurs in 1 percent of cases.

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