An epidural anaesthetic involves the injection of drugs (local anaesthetics and/or opiates) into the epidural space. The epidural space surrounds the spinal cord and is an area through which the spinal nerves must pass to reach the body. When these drugs are injected into this area, close to the spinal nerves, the passage of nerve impulses from the uterus and the lower body are impaired. This allows the pain of contractions to be alleviated. The lower abdomen and legs may feel quite numb.
For more information please refer to www.allaboutanaesthesia.com.au