Epidurals for Pain Relief During Childbirth

We understand that everyone has different preferences for their labor and delivery, so we offer mothers plenty of options when bringing their little one into the world. For example, you can choose between a natural birth and delivery with an epidural, where anesthesia is inserted into your spine to numb the lower half of your body and relieve discomfort during childbirth. The birth centers at St. Rose Dominican are also the first in Nevada to offer nitrous oxide as an option to relieve pain during labor. Nitrous oxide can be used with or without an epidural.

If you choose to have a natural childbirth, you will feel pain during contractions and delivery. Be prepared with a plan for pain management, such as relaxation and breathing techniques, massage, distractions such as music, or moving around to find a comfortable position.

If you choose to get an epidural, an anesthesiologist will insert a thin catheter into your spinal canal in your lower back. Anesthetic medicine flows through this catheter to numb your body from the waist down. You may experience a headache when this happens. It can take about 20 minutes or longer for the medicine to take effect. You may also receive a urinary catheter since you will not be able to get up to go to the bathroom.

Pros and Cons: Is an Epidural Right for You? 

There are several factors to consider when it comes to deciding if using an epidural is right for you.

Natural Birth


  • There are no side effects from medication.
  • You are able to walk around as you labor, if you’d like.
  • Some women feel empowered with a great sense of achievement.


  • You will feel intense pain during childbirth.
  • You may feel fatigued if labor progresses slowly.
  • Delivery may take longer if you are in extreme pain or exhausted.

Delivery With an Epidural


  • You will feel little or no pain during labor and delivery.
  • You may feel more rested during labor and pushing.
  • Some women say that having less pain gives them a more positive birth experience.


  • You will not be able to get out of bed after the epidural takes effect.
  • The epidural could slow contractions.
  • Sometimes the epidural does not work and may need to be repeated.

Your doctor may advise against an epidural if:

  • You are on blood thinners.
  • You have an infection.
  • You are not dilated past four centimeters.
  • Your baby is too close to delivery.

After natural childbirth, you may feel exhausted and sore. Sleep and rest will help you manage these symptoms. After an epidural, you will likely feel numb for a while as the anesthesia wears off, and your lower back might feel sore. Time and rest will ease these symptoms. Whatever delivery option you choose, our specialists will be there to help you recover after your delivery.

Interested in Exploring Our San Martín Birth Center?

We understand that you have options when choosing a doctor and hospital for your pregnancy journey, so we’d love to show you around our San Martín Hospital and answer any of your questions. Together, we can help you make this once-in-a-lifetime experience as special as it deserves to be.

Take a Virtual Tour