Q. I am about 28 weeks pregnant with my second child. My first pregnancy was normal. This time I have been having nothing but problems. I went into premature labor a week ago. I was told I have placenta previa and that this time I might have to have a C-Section. I am not worried about getting cut, but I am worried about the needle in my back. I have heard that women who have epidurals have back problems later in life. Is this true?
A. I, too, was initially concerned about having a big ol' needle in the spine. Not only did it sound creepy and painful, but I was afraid of spine injury or paralysis. My fears diminished quickly when I found that the chances of that actually happening were just about the same as if a house fell from the sky and flattened me. One recent study on the subject showed no cases of paralysis or spine injury in 500,000 births assisted with the epidural.
And, the creepy and painful part was really not bad at all. Contractions, and getting relief from contractions, were the only thing that I could focus on during labor. Having a needle put into my spine seemed so trivial at the time. I didn't care if the needle had to be administered through my eyeball! A small pinch of the needle (the initial novocaine shot) was all I felt. It was no more uncomfortable than having blood drawn.