The Epidural Space: What a Doula Does When the “Needle” is Placed

Your client has made it as far as she can with your expert help

and has now received her epidural and is resting peacefully.

Now what?



REST. Let your client rest. She has probably had a sleepless night and labor can be long, difficult work. Pushing requires a lot of energy, so let her sleep. Encourage dad to get fresh air, eat, and sleep. You rest too.

COMFORT. A peanut ball or pillows can be put between her legs to help open up the pelvis to allow baby to continue moving down and putting pressure on the cervix to progress. Your client may want lip balm or ice chips. Is she too hot or too cold? Is she evenly numb? You may need to change her position with the nurse’s help to get the epidural’s effect evenly felt.

NURSES. Speaking of the nurse, help her! Assist with moving the client, changing pads, etc. Be friendly and open to build a rapport.

WATCH. Look for signs of transition. Tremors, pressure, hot or cold flashes. Remind your client she will still feel pressure with an epidural. It does not take all sensation away.

PUSHING. Talk through the pushing phase and any positions she may want to try. Talk to her about breathing and how to push effectively. Staying in tune with your client and talking about the baby will keep her focused.

And above all, remember epidurals are not a sign of failure. 

This is her birth, her way.





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