Should You Try a Walking Epidural?

pregnancy
Image via Flickr/ BigD2112

When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I chose a nurse-midwife for my healthcare provider. As I approached my due date, she casually asked me if I had any plans for pain control.

“Oh, I’m not really sure what I want to do,” I replied. “I’m not opposed to an epidural, but I’m also not positive I want one …”

“Well, I don’t do epidurals, so that settles that!” she interrupted me brightly, gathering up her chart and swiftly exiting the room.

Fast forward to one week before my due date, when my contractions had fizzled out, Pitocin had been started, and after laboring for two days, I was losing my grip. While I had enjoyed laboring in a tub for the majority of my labor thus far, I seemed to be stuck at only 5 cm dilated—and I was exhausted, physically and mentally, almost willing my body to give me a break.

My midwife gently brought up the option of some outside pain relief and I stared at her in a fog of confusion.

“What? I thought you didn’t do epidurals?” I asked, frustrated that she was discussing this again.

Turns out, my midwife didn’t do traditional epidurals, but she did offer me the option of a “walking epidural,” something I had never even heard of. 

{ MORE: Why You Need To Listen To Your Body During Labor }

So what is a walking epidural?

A walking epidural is like a one-time, watered-down version of an epidural. Instead of a continues flow of medication into the epidural space like a traditional epidural, which effectively numbs the lower half of your body, in a walking epidural, medication is injected into the intrathecal space.

Although reactions will vary, the walking epidural is designed to eliminate a large portion of a woman’s pain during labor while still effectively allowing her some freedom of movement. For instance, some women are still able to walk to the bathroom or change positions as needed.  With traditional epidurals, women are often restricted to bedrest and have to have their bladders emptied via a catheter by their labor nurse.

The walking epidural usually provides pain relief from 2-4 hours and depending on your center’s policy, may be able to be adjusted and/or repeated as necessary. 

{ MORE: Alternative Methods to Ease Teething Pain }

ADVERTISEMENT

Did you have a walking epidural? Would you consider one for your labor?

 

What do you think?

Should You Try a Walking Epidural?

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

Tell us what you think!

5 comments

  1. Mary says:

    I’m definitely interested. This is my first pregnancy and I’ve been trying to find a way that i could get an epidurals pain relief without being forced to stay in one position afterwards which only tends to make me stiff and uncomfortable. It sounds like a walking epidural is the perfect compromise. I would be able to get pain relief if i need it and i could still move around a bit if i wanted/needed to.

    Certainly something I will have to ask my doctor about

  2. Francesca says:

    I’ve never heard of this. I’ll need to discuss this with my midwife and doula. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Ashley says:

    I had a "walking epidural" for my first delivery. Seriously is amazing!! I didn’t want the stuck in bed or not being able to control my pushes. I got mine at 8 cm. I still felt some parts of labor def uncomfortable but nothing that I couldn’t take. I highly recommend it! My sister in law did it with her second and she got 2 shots the first wore off before delivery but she said she would never deliver with a traditional epidural again.

  4. I will have to wait til i’m closer to my due date to decide.

  5. neisha says:

    sounds like a good idea this is my 5th child an Ive always had a epidural but wasnt aloud to get up an move around which really bites if labor is long

Advertisement
[x]
×

EverydayFamily.com Week-by-Week Newsletter

Receive weekly updates on your pregnancy or new baby’s development as well as Free Stuff, Special Offers, Product Samples, Coupons, Checklists and Tools you can use today, and more from EverydayFamily! Plus all new members are entered to win FREE diapers for a year! Receive weekly updates on your pregnancy or new baby’s development as well as Free Stuff, Special Offers, Product Samples, Coupons, Checklists and Tools you can use today, and more from EverydayFamily! Plus all new members are entered to win FREE diapers for a year!

Due Date or Baby's Birth Date


By clicking the "Join Now" button you are agreeing to the terms of use and privacy policy.

Send this to a friend