If you have zero interest in going through childbirth drug-free, the thought of not getting an epidural might sound horrifying. While it doesn’t happen often, there are a few reasons it could. Your care provider may discover that you have low platelets when you get to the hospital, which would make you ineligible for an epidural. Or it may be a timing issue. Doctors need about 20 minutes to place the epidural, and it takes another 10 to 20 minutes to take effect, so if you’re too far along in labor, you may be out of luck. If you’re at a small hospital, there may only be one anesthesiologist stuck in a cesarean section or another procedure. If you’re dead-set on an epidural, let your doctor and nurses know when you arrive so they can help to ensure someone will be available.
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