Does an epidural anaesthetic affect labour?

In early labour, an epidural can occasionally slow the progress of labour. More commonly however, a very prolonged and painful labour may progress more rapidly after an epidural has relieved the mother's pain. Towards the end of labour, the reduction in sensation may reduce the mother's urge and muscle strength to push the baby out although this is not necessarily the case. In this case assistance may be required by the obstetrician who may use a vacuum or forceps to help you push the baby's head through the vagina.

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