Kristen Bell says giving birth to her second child didn't go as planned, but her unexpected epidural had some surprisingly pleasant side effects.
When Kristen Bell gave birth to her second daughter, Delta, 7 weeks ago, an unexpected c-section led to an unexpected epidural. Although a more natural birth may have been in the original plans, taking the labor drugs actually "felt really great", she told Ellen DeGeneres on Monday.
"As someone who has never experimented with drugs, I really enjoyed it," she said. "While they were doing it, I thought: 'What else could we get done down there?' ... Anything to keep the epidural flowing."
Around six hours later, when the drugs left her system, the 34-year-old actor started scratching her face "like a meth addict", she joked, and soon found herself asking husband Dax Shepard for a "re-up" of the pain meds.
Instead, the nurse gave Bell Benadryl, which only made matters worse (or better, depending on how you look at it). "What a cocktail," she said. "I started telling all these stories and I was taking 30-second pauses between 'and' and 'the'." Then, she turned to her phone for some impromptu internet shopping. "Do you know what looks really good when you're on that stuff? Handbags, or throw pillows or rugs. Thank god I didn't remember my credit card number. Honestly, a picture of a throw pillow was as mind-blowing as seeing The Matrix for the first time."
While her birth experience was enjoyable, Bell and Shepard don't plan to have any more children (her first daughter Lincoln is 22 months). "We don't want to be outnumbered," she said. "We're gonna cap it at two. Until I accidentally get pregnant and my third child watches this clip and realizes he was an accident!"
5 Common Epidural Side Effects
An epidural is the most popular type of pain relief for birth used in the United States, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). They're very safe for the majority of patients, but there are sometimes side effects, which Bell knows too well by now. Here are some of the more typical consequences.
Hypotension, a drop in maternal blood pressure, is a typical complication that can occur from having an epidural. This occurs more frequently with higher doses and, with treatment, has no consequences to mom and baby.
Nausea affects about 20 to 30 percent of women who receive epidurals. Sometimes another drug can be given along with your epidural to relieve nausea, according to ACOG, so be sure to speak up if it's bothering you.
Itching, as witnessed by Bell, affects approximately 30 to 50 percent of women who receive an epidural. If it becomes unbearable (and internet shopping is no distraction), speak to your anesthesiologist who can treat it, per the Cleveland Clinic.
Fever is another side effect that can develop if an epidural is in place for six hours or more, so it's more typical among first births, which tend to take longer (20 percent of first-time mothers have a raised temperature after an epidural). You and Baby may be prescribed antibiotics to keep your temperature in the normal range.
Spinal headache is a very rare side effect, affecting less than one percent of women, according to the American Pregnancy Association. It's caused by leaking spinal fluid and can be treated by a procedure called a "blood patch", where some of your blood is injected into the epidural space.