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Epidural Anesthesia – Risks

December 23, 2021


As a side effect, epidurals may lower your blood pressure. You may get a little dizzy, confused. And that’s a temporary thing. We will check on your blood pressure right after injection of the local anesthetic. And we continue checking your blood pressure for as long as you have your epidural. And if there is a sudden drop in your blood pressure, we may have to give you IV fluids through the IV catheter, medications and oxygen. Rarely, you may get a severe headache, and it’s usually due to a leakage of spinal fluid from your spinal cord. That happens in less than 1% of patients. If symptoms persist, we can also give you what we call a blood patch, with an injection of your own blood into the epidural space, that space. And that usually takes care of that severe headache. You may experience some other side effects. One of them is shivering, which is a common one, especially for women in labor. You may get a backache, temporary. You may get soreness where the needle is injected. You may get nauseous. Sometimes you may have difficulty urinating. For a few hours after the epidural is started, that part of your body where the injection took place is gonna feel numb. Numbness will require you to walk with assistance if you received a lumbar epidural, just because the nerves that go down to your legs are gonna be weakened.

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