Our Privacy/Cookie Policy contains detailed information about the types of cookies & related technology on our site, and some ways to opt out. By using the site, you agree to the uses of cookies and other technology as outlined in our Policy, and to our Terms of Use.


Can an Epidural Slow Labor Down?

Photograph by Getty Images/Blend Images

If you're considering using epidural anesthesia to manage pain when your delivery day arrives, you may have concerns that it can actually hinder your progress. Epidurals are typically placed when the cervix is dilated to 4 to 5 centimeters and when a woman is in active labor. If they're administered too early, they can slow labor, says to Dr. Joseph Garza, an obstetrician/gynecologist and reproductive endocrinologist from the Institute for Women's Health in Texas. However, he explains, "An epidural can also help the mother relax and deliver sooner." Discuss pain management options with your doctor well in advance of your due date so that you're prepared when the big day arrives.

Photo via Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

More from pregnancy