Perception Epidurals often don’t work.
Reality According to Wong, less than 5 percent of women have unrelieved labor pain after receiving an epidural. This can be caused by the baby’s position, but sometimes the anesthesiologist simply needs to give more medication. Occasionally, the pain is relieved on only one side of the body, either because the catheter is mispositioned or dislodged or because the mother stays in the same position for too long; this problem is easily remedied. An increasingly popular option is patient-controlled epidural analgesia (PCEA); the laboring woman can control the amount of pain relief she gets, but overdosing is extremely unlikely.