Viral TikTok Shows You the Size of an Epidural Needle, and Moms Could Have Told You, Yes, It's Huge
No matter how they welcome a child into the world, birthing parents are warriors, but it doesn't hurt to get a little help from modern medicine. In fact, the latest research shows that 71 percent of pregnant women get epidurals or other spinal anesthesia, according to a study published in the journal Anesthesiology. And those women know all too well what a couple of health care providers are now schooling millions of TikTok users on: Epidural needles are massive.
In the clip, which has been viewed over 13 million times, Miami-based medical student Hansel Viera and Dr. Carlos De La Hoz show off three different needles, asking viewers to determine which size is the epidural needle. Spoiler: It's the biggest one.
The needle is used to guide a catheter into the lower back through which pain medication is administered. It also bears noting that a local anesthetic is applied to the area before the epidural needle is inserted.
"With this, the patient will feel minimal or none of the epidural needle as it penetrates the skin," Hansel told Buzzfeed.
And the size is also crucial. "Epidural needles are long so that we get better access to the epidural space," the medical student told the site. "The most common question is, 'Does it go all the way in?' And the answer [in] most cases is no, but again, it varies from patient to patient."
All of these are basics to anyone who's ever even thought about getting pregnant, and yet, the stunned social media response proves there's far too little awareness around aspects of women's health care. Here's hoping eye-opening, "TikTok University" clips like these not only bolster people's knowledge about interventions like epidurals but foster a greater appreciation for people who give birth.