Why aren't walking epidurals done more often? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 19 Old 02-27-2004, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I live in a major metro area, and with my first birth in a hospital, there were 24-hour anesthesiologists that did only maternity care. However, they did not offer walking epidurals. Many of my friends around the country have heard of them in birth classes but were later told they were not available.

Is there a reason behind this? Is it that women would be too mobile? It would seem that you could potentially improve outcomes if women weren't forced to stay in bed or could at least retain some leg function to change birth positions.
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#2 of 19 Old 02-27-2004, 11:50 AM
 
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I had an epidural with my first and it was a walking epidural, I'm assuming. I could move my legs and even shift my body weight by using my legs. But I couldn't walk, so I don't know why they call it that.

Edited to add that when the OB could see that I could still move my legs and bear enough weight to shift my body weight, she said, "Ah, a proper epidural" or something to that effect.
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#3 of 19 Old 02-27-2004, 12:35 PM
 
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I had what is considered a low-dose epidural, I could still feel my yoni and everything but my legs and belly went completely numb. My left leg was still numb several hours after shutting the thing off. I think it was considered a walking epidural but I could not have walked to save my life.
I don't know why they aren't done more often. Maybe you have to specifically request it?
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#4 of 19 Old 02-27-2004, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I did specifically request it, as did my friends who live in Seattle, LA, San Francisco, and Minneapolis. But they didn't "do" them.
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#5 of 19 Old 02-27-2004, 05:36 PM
 
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I hear they are more accurately called "shuffling epidurals" meaning it's not like you can really walk around. So I don't think that's the reason they don't do them.

Maybe they weren't considered as effective for pain relief, or they are too expensive.
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#6 of 19 Old 02-27-2004, 05:37 PM
 
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I hear they are more accurately called "shuffling epidurals" meaning it's not like you can really walk around.

:LOL Exactly.
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#7 of 19 Old 02-28-2004, 12:04 AM
 
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i have been a doula for several clients who have chosen "walking epidurals," and it was not possible for them to walk safely. we could get them into the bathroom if we needed to, but it was NOT easy.

i think it's a marketing ploy.

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#8 of 19 Old 02-28-2004, 12:28 AM
 
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I've had a walking epidural twice, and while I agree that mobility is still limited, I much preferred them to the full epidural I had previously. Just being able to move your legs is a plus, IMO. And the walking epidural seemed to wear off faster, so that I could walk without help sooner.

I found this thread interesting, as I didn't even ask for my first 5 years ago, but that is what I got. I did ask for the second one three years ago, but that is what the anesthesiologist planned to do anyway. Same hospital, different doc. They are still available there.

What I really want to know is why my husband was sedated to receive his epidural injection for his back injury, while I have to hold still during major contractions for mine. I asked once, and I was told I was the better person.
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#9 of 19 Old 02-28-2004, 12:37 AM
 
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T
What I want to know is why husbands are often asked to leave when the epidural is being administered? Was that the case with everyone here who has had an epi? Is it because they will freak out when they see the huge needle?
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#10 of 19 Old 02-28-2004, 12:57 AM
 
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Greaseball, I wonder that too. I recently saw a Maternity Ward episode where the teenage dh would NOT leave the room for his young dw's epi. He wanted to protect her--very honorable. They wouldn't even let him just stand way back in the room, he had to be OUT of the room, walking the halls. I thought it might be a biased policy from a hosp treating more "poor" people than rich. Does that make sense at all? Maybe it's just whoever the chief of staff is and what they think about birth patners. On that show, they kept telling him they didn't want him "contaminating the area". Whatever. Very rude, I thought.
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#11 of 19 Old 02-28-2004, 01:08 AM
 
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Originally posted by Greaseball
T
What I want to know is why husbands are often asked to leave when the epidural is being administered? Was that the case with everyone here who has had an epi? Is it because they will freak out when they see the huge needle?
hmmm. . .I wonder. I have no experience with an epidural, so take this FWIW, but ds had a spinal tap when he was 15 months and they asked me to leave. I didn't, but I had to really be calm and gently and respectfully explain why and promise to keep my eyes only on ds's face. Also had a friend there with nursing experience who said he'd seen them and knew what to expect and knew I'd be fine. Could just be a general rule regarding big needles in the spine?
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#12 of 19 Old 02-28-2004, 01:22 AM
 
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My dh watched them administer the epidural.
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#13 of 19 Old 02-28-2004, 01:30 AM
 
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My dh watched me have a spinal tap....he was never asked to leave.

Can't comment on the epidural though...never had one.

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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#14 of 19 Old 02-28-2004, 02:03 AM
 
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I've read that the term walking epidural is a misnomer. From my personal experience with my first----I can't see being able to walk around (or wanting or needing to) with all the @%$# belts, IVs, monitors, etc that accompanied the drugs.

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#15 of 19 Old 02-28-2004, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My DH was in the room for my epi.

ITA that walking epidurals do not permit the same type of mobility as not having one. I was mostly curious because I think it WOULD allow someone to try different pushing positions (like assisted kneeling/squatting, etc), which could affect the delivery outcome. (As opposed to being on your back or sitting up with a regular epi because you have no feeling in your legs.) Or even just being able to turn themselves over in bed.
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#16 of 19 Old 03-02-2004, 02:24 AM
 
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Had a 'walking epidural' with my 2nd birth. Wasn't allowed to go anywhere at all ... but felt everything. Nothing was numb that I could tell, felt *everything* but no pain ... if that makes any sense. But they still made me stay in bed for the whole shebang. No walking allowed.

Was supposed to be a 'walking epidural' with my 3rd, but they under-did it. Ended up being a fizzled-out epidural.






And with our 1st they insisted DH leave for the epidural, but I was in a total panic and got crazy at them. They said it was because husbands tend to pass out or vomit and they don't want to be responsible for it and don't want to be sued over it. : We were *really* mad (in his medical research days DH did surgeries ...) and insisted he stay. I was beyond hysterical at that point anyway ...

And the whole back&forth and arguing with them ... which included the anesthesiologist leaving in a huff, saying he'd come back when DH was gone ... ... they delayed the #&*! epidural for two hours. After a nasty overdose of pitocin that had me just crazy ...



Anyway, that was the reason given.

And they did finally cave & let him stay.



Thank G!d we changed doctors after that birth. From that whole pitocin thing ... ohnevermind.
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#17 of 19 Old 03-03-2004, 07:02 PM
 
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I have had one client that had one and it worked great. She could get to the bathroom and back.

Whether or not you get to have a support person stay depends on the Anesteisologist (spelled bad). I think that for some of them it makes them nervous to have an audience.

I think that the reason they don't do them very often is because of libility issues. The thing is that they don't always work, and they don't always work well when they do work. So if you think that it is a "walking" epidural and try to walk on your own you might get hurt.

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#18 of 19 Old 03-05-2004, 08:03 PM
 
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well, my Dh was allowed to stay and was asked to stand infront of me, between my knees (to steady me- I think) while I perched on the edge of the bed to receive the epidural (which I had really really fought against but had stalled at 5 cm dilation and was being threatened with a c-section so there we were)

Anyhow, my poor Dh hadn't eaten in about 12 hrs and also we both didn't like the idea of a 'needle in the spine' and the risks involved and so as I looked into his face, trying to hold perfectly still while the anestheseologist did his thing- my man turned pale and began to sway and the nurse had to catch him!!!!

After some food and juice he was fine and even cut the cord later!
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#19 of 19 Old 03-05-2004, 08:13 PM
 
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My husband stayed.
He was not asked to leave.
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