36 answers

Epidural Problems

I have been told by two different women who delivered at different hospitals recently that their anesthesiologist told them if they had an epidural their first delivery, then having a second epidural for their next delivery could result in lifelong back pain.

They both choose to do the epidurals anyways, and one woman is fine, and the other woman has had severe back pain ever since she delivered her baby over a year ago.

I have never heard of this, but this came from two different Dr.s! Does anyone else know anything about this? My first delivery was relatively smooth, but I had a vaccuum delivery, so I couldn't imaging going through that without pain relief. I already have back pain and am planning on a second epidural in December with baby #2, so any information would be greatly appreciated!

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Ive had two kids and two spinals. Two different doctors in two different states. The first one went smooth. The second they MISSED 3 times before acually getting in. I think that is what matters getting a good doctor to do it. I have back pain all the time now i feel the jolt from where it missed.

Hi L.! Just wanted to say congrats on the 2nd! Yeah! As well as thank you for the post. Was good info for me as well!


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I had an epidural with my daughter back in 2001 and one with my son in 2006 and have not had any problems. I think Dr's only tell you this in case there is back pain.
Hope this helps!

I have never heard of this before. I had an epidural with both of my babies and have never suffered from back pain a day in my life. It probably has a lot to do with the skill of the anestethiologist. I'm not sure if you can choose who does that, but if you can, that would be the aspect to research.

Good luck!


Ive had two kids and two spinals. Two different doctors in two different states. The first one went smooth. The second they MISSED 3 times before acually getting in. I think that is what matters getting a good doctor to do it. I have back pain all the time now i feel the jolt from where it missed.

There are several risks that come with the epidural that anesthesiologists brush over. I did a hospital birth with a friend and the anesthesiologist on call said she wouldn't get an epidural even if you paid her. She did it all natural. As far as your back pain...I know of a great (GENTLE) chiropractor who specializes in pregnancy and children. Maybe she can help you with the back pain to help you prepare for the hospital birth in Dec (congrats). Dr Cindy is also a doula! Her info is on www.family-wellness.com . They are located in Hurst. Hope all goes well, especially with the research.

I've had 4 deliveries, 3 epidurals and one natural. I haven't had any long term effects from any of my epidurals. From reading what everyone else has said - it may very well be a possibility. There are risks involved any time you get an epidural. Look up the info on the net and you can read more about it. You can also schedule an appt to speak with the anestitiologist (sp - seriously) before hand.

Good luck to you!


I also have pre-existing back pain but have had two epidurals with absolutely no problems whatsoever. The information I had been told regarding epidurals and back pain is that you're at risk of developing chronic back pain ANY time you get an epidural, regardless of whether it's your first, second, third, etc. You just have to decide for yourself whether that risk (very small...) scares you more than the labor pain :) . I personally chose the epidural twice and things have gone great for me (plus they sped up my labors!!).


I've never heard that. I've had 2 epidurals (both my pregnancies) and have had no problems. I also have several friends who have done the same, also with no problems.

I had a epidural with my first child (15 years ago) and just had a spinal block three weeks ago with my twins and have 0 pain other than the c-section incision and that only lasted 4-5 days, I feel like I am already back to normal as long as I do not over do it but had no back pain what so ever after the spinal block

I've had 2 epidurals and didn't experience any back pain. However, after the first one I had a small numb and tingly spot in my back that wore off after about 6 months.

I'm 56, had 3 epidurals in less than 4 years with 3 C-sections. When my 3rd baby was about 3 I started having back panes. The doctor said it was partly due to carrying the babies on my hip through 3 babies' worth(what mother doesn't?). Further, it was probably more from sleeping on my stomach most of my life. No mention was from having the epidurals. With the first epidural I had a little numbness on one side of one thigh. It didn't last long but at the time I wasn't sure how long it might last. The other two had no side effects.

I certainly would be pro-epidural than having a spinal block. Daughter #2 had both and had lots of problems with the spinal block and none with the epidural. Her kids are 4 and 8 and she has no back problems. My daughter #1 had a natural birth in a birthing tub. Loved it and says she'd do it again.

Hope this helped a little.

By the way just FYI - I make baby to toddler clothes and supply them to my daughter #1 baby boutique in Austin. www.AustinBabyStore.com I also make park throws (vinyl on one side, padded and soft on the other) and swaddler sheet/blanket sets. And I am co-owner of a diaper service in the Dallas metroplex. www.earthbabydiaperservice.com I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors! How great being a mom and entrepreneur!

I had an epidural with both my boys and I have no back pain. So here is one positive experience. But I am sure this happens in some cases. A shot in your back is always a risk. Best wishes.

I think that everyone is different and what happens for one person won't necessarily happen to another. For example I had an epidural with all 3 of my babys but none of them worked. With my youngest they had to give me 3 times the normal amount of anestesia and then give me a spinal just so they could give me a c-section without general anestesia after I couldn't push any more. 30 minutes after he was born when I was in recovery I was able to stand up and walk and the doctors didn't know what to make of it. What didn't work for me, works for millions and what may cause someone cronic back pain in later years may not affect your back at all. Weight gain, especially fast weight gain can do a number on your back and you may not even notice it until after the baby is born and you start to realize that the pain in your back isn't being caused by your baby! It could also be the power of suggetion. Many people will start to feel sick or feel pain when they are told that it is a possible side effect of a medicine that they are on and then later on down the road come to find out they were taking a placebo. Best of luck with the birth of your new baby. I am sure you will be just fine! :)

Hi L.! Just wanted to say congrats on the 2nd! Yeah! As well as thank you for the post. Was good info for me as well!


Congrats on your 2cd baby !

Sometimes you don't have a choice and have to do a epidural,
like I had too. Both mine were premmies and I had too.
With the 1st baby they missed the 1st time and I felt pain in
my leg and they tried a 2cd time and it was fine, and could do the
emergency c section. My back was fine afterwards.

Then we had our 2cd baby, and then had to try a few times again,
they supposely got it and was able to do the c section.
I didn't fill anything during the delivery. Which is good,
since I heard of some women it wearing off.

But after the surgery my back hurt, and now my daughter is 2,
and there are times my back still hurts. Basically if you
touch or if I am laying down and the kids kick me it that spot
it is very painful. Its right where they gave me the shot.

I never heard of this from a Dr, but I can say that is what happened in my case. But both my babies were early and hadn't turned around in position so there wasn't much choice.

Hi L.,
I had epidurals with both of my children and the second baby was a C-Section.
I did have some problems after having my 2nd but I know it was do to my fault.
They keep the epidural in you overnight after you have the C-Section and I moved the wrong way with it still in my back pulling it and it caused severe back pain so they had the anesthesiologist come and take it out.
I had continuous back pain for about 2 mths after having my baby but the doctors were able to prescribe me pain meds until the pain was finally gone.
I would still recommend having the epidural but it's completely up to you. I don't think you have pain from the epi just because it's your 2nd time to have one. They are risky your 1st, 2nd and any time really.
Just make sure to be VERY still when they insert it in you. I jumped with mine and that could have been another reason for the back pain.
I'm perfectly fine now and would advise you to not worry about it!
Another possibility I've always been interested in is a Water birth, I just don't know if I have enough courage to go w/out any pain meds! I sure wish I could though!

Congrats and Good Luck with your baby!

Hi L.! I have had 4 children, all two years apart. I had epidurals with all four and no problems. I will say that, as we all know, pregnancy in general throws your body off. Therefore, I would question whether some of the women who say they had back pain following their epidurals/deliveries was actually due to the epidural or just perhaps their bodies getting back in shape after having been through a pregnancy and delivery. Personally, I have never heard the risks of an epidural are higher after your first delivery either. This being said...go for the epidural. Your delivery experience will be so much better and more enjoyable for you and your husband than if you go all natural...just my opinion! :-)

Hi L.. I just want to let you know that I have had 3 epidurals(all 3 kids) and I have no pain. I would check with different doctors to see what they say. All 3 kids were delivered at different hospitals(1 in Ohio).All of my epidurals were safe and harmless. I hope you get some good information to help you make this decision. E.

there ARE risks with an epidural
here is a good list:


I don't know how long your first labor was, but keep in mind that you don't have to have an epidural if there are no labor problems. I had my baby with no medications and not only did not have to worry about repurcussions or side effects for myself, but there are no drug side effects for the baby AND I did not have to pay for an anethesioligist. Just wanted to throw that out there in case you want to consider it. If you do, be sure to talk to the hospital about their experience with natural deliveries - in our area there are so many epidurals that I was assigned to a special nurse who was experienced with natural births. Also, I have a friend who did hypno birthing and she thought that was helpful in managing the pain. For what it's worth!

Hi L., I can only give my personal experience. I have 4 children and had an epidural each time. My thought is my experience was as good as the anesthesiologist was. In every case until the last it went off without a hitch. The last time however , he had to stick me 4 different times in my back in my spine before they got it to take. Afterwards I was extermely sore and experencied back pain, but I made a full recovery after 6 months. and would have to honestly say I would still choose to have the epidural over labor pain any day. There are risks as with any other procedure-Good luck with your delivery!

I had spinals with both of my c-sections and had no problems! :)

I had two and have no back pain. Hope you find what your looking for. Good Luck.

I also have had 3 epidurals with all my deliveries. After the first one had no problem. After the second one I would experience some tenderness at the site and once in awhile like a shock wave that would move up my spine, it pretty much went away after about a year. The thing with that epidural though, I believe that it was a Anthesologist in training, he had a lot of problems getting it in and then did not turn on the pump!! I just had my third almost 6 months ago and I feel the tenderness at the site, but have had no shock wave pain like I did before. I do go to a Chiro on a regualar basis so I am sure that is helping my back. Good luck on baby #2!!

If I had to do it all over again - I wouldn't.

My experience:
1st baby, epidural went fine but had lasting back pain/soreness for abt 8 months.
2nd baby, same thing for about a year.
3rd baby, I was contemplating not having the epidural but did anyways and ended up with a spinal headache!!!! they missed somewhere in my spine causing my spinal fluid to leak which lessens pressure and causes the brain to "sag" down your neck! Worst feeling in the world and I honestly thought I was going to die or that I was paralyzed! I was unable to care for my baby for the first 5 days because of this! I had to go get a blood patch in the ER which is even worse than the epidural itself, where they drain your arm for LOTS n LOTS of blood because they have to waste quite a bit and then give you a "fresh batch" and they then shoot up your spine just like the epidural except this is with lots n lots of pain!!!! After the blood patch I felt excruciating pain and could not move for a good hour. About 2 hours later the headache was completely gone but still SORE from everything that happened!!!

Not worth it to me. If there is a next time for me, I will do it all natural or maybe just some pain meds.

Don't mean to scare you, just wanted to share my story. Hope the best for you and baby.

I had epidurals with both my daughters and 1) I was never told this by the dr or the anesthesiologist, and 2) I have had no problems with my back. That's interesting, though. I will definitely mention it to my doctor when we start thinking about having another baby!

I've never heard of that. I can tell you that I had epidurals with both of my kids and my back is perfectly fine. Good luck!

I had recurring back pain after my 2nd and 3rd pregnancies, both in the area around the epidural. When I moved a certain way, I would get a sharp pain! It gradually wore off, and I think each lasted for about a year...although after my 3rd delivery I had to see a chiropractor for some other problems, and that seemed to help some.

I have a friend that has had a lot of sciatica issues since her 2nd epidural & I refused to have one. I just didn't want the dr. messing around w/ anything to do w/ my back- too much this way or that way with that stupid needle & I'm sore for life! No thanks!I'm very pro-natural birth too...and after a 46 hour labour on #2, I can say we women are a lot stronger than we give ourselves credit for. Given the risks, I'd go natural every time! It is such a short period of time (compared to life in general), & given the proper training/ labour support, a natural birth poses much fewer complications for you & the baby.


Hi L.-
Sorry this response is so late. If your anestesiologist does not know what they are doing, the may have to stick you a few times before they get it right. This would leave you sore. If you get an adjustment from your chiropractor, it will fix the problem. If you hurt afterwards, just get an adjustment. I am a chiropractor and I see this all the time. A woman can have back pain 2 and 3 years after their epidural. They get an adjustment and they are fixed right up. They always say, "Wow! I didn't know! I didn't even think about an adjustment!" So if the epidural leaves you with pain, an adjustment will fix you right up. They don't know why exactly the epidural causes low back pain. There are different theories: The epidural goes in the wrong spot, this would leave it sore. There is no feeling in the back, so the legs are extended farther than normal. The epidural causes spasming in the muscles in the area of the epidural and then this pulls the L3 bone out of alignment. I think it could be any of these things. I normally see the L3 vertebra out of alignment and thats what I adjust. Hope this helps. Good luck on you delivery.

Hi L.,
I'm afraid I can't help much with your epidural question - although I had one both times and have had no problems. I noticed the on-line baby store you are starting. I make custom onesies and t-shirts for hip babies and kids. I was wondering if you would be interested in adding them to your store? I noticed you don't have clothes yet so perhaps they could fill a niche. You can check out my website at www.babytalkapparel.com Let me know if you are interested - you can e-mail me at ____@____.com. Thanks and good luck with your pregnancy!

I have never heard of the second one being worse. I have always been told that anytime you have an epidural, there is risk involved. I know a lot of women that have had three children and an epidural all three times (myself included) and have no problems. One friend of mine had some problems right after her first one, though, but that is the only one that I know of.

Hi L.,

I have had three epidurals with no back pain. The first time they missed and had to redo it. My husband almost fainted at the sight of the blood, but I had no problems with it. I had my first at 36, second at 39 and third and no problems. I had different anesthesiologists with all three and I am older and most of my friends have had several children and I have never heard of any back pain or complications due to an epidural.

Good luck and I hope that you have the same good results.


I had no problems with my first epidural. With my second, I had complications-the numbness started traveling up to my chest, and they had to stop the epidural. Then I had an epidural headache, which was worse pain than the delivery without the epidural. I couldn't enjoy the first week of my daughter's life because everything I did caused pain. If I ever have another baby, I will not have an epidural.

Hello L..
I have had 4 children and had epidurals with ALL of them! I am fine. I think that if you ask your OB and if they are comfortable with the anesthesoligist performing the epi then you should be fine.


i had my second epidural last week...no back pain last time and none this time. i would ask your ob-gyn if you could speak with someone from the anesthesia group they use if you still have questions.
best wishes in december!

I have never heard that. I had an epidural with both my children, they were born at 2 different hospitals in 2 different states and I have no back problems other than what you get by having small children and not lifting them correctly.

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