When can an epidural be given?
Early labor does not usually cause painful contractions. Unless your
obstetrician suggests otherwise, epidural anesthesia is usually placed once
labor is well established and the cervix has dilated to about four centimeters.
Prior to receiving any anesthesia, an intravenous (IV) line will be
Started and your blood pressure checked. Once medication is given into the epidural space it will be necessary for you to remain in bed. Fetal monitoring is used whenever an epidural anesthetic is given.