If you have received an epidural or spinal anaesthetic during the delivery of your baby this information is to provide advice after you are discharged home. It explains symptoms to look out for in the days after the procedure and how to get in touch with us if you have any concerns. We hope that you are satisfied with your anaesthetic care, but if you have any concerns please do get in touch. We are always happy to answer any questions.
Having a headache is not uncommon after giving birth and usually occurs as a result of disrupted sleep, dehydration and tiredness. Around 1 in 100 people who have an epidural or spinal anaesthetic may develop a specific form of headache called ‘post dural puncture headache’. This usually occurs within a couple of days of the anaesthetic but may appear up to a week after the procedure. It tends to be worst on sitting up and walking and can be accompanied by neck pain, nausea, change in hearing and a dislike of bright lights.
If you develop a headache after discharge:
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Take simple painkillers regularly such as paracetamol and ibuprofen
- Contact us for additional advice and follow up. A post dural puncture headache may settle on its own over a few days for some people, but others may need to come to hospital for a treatment called an epidural blood patch.
The following symptoms may be signs of rarer but serious complications. Contact us if you experience any of these so that we can advise and assess you appropriately.
- Redness, pus, tenderness or significant pain at the anaesthetic insertion site
- High temperature or experiencing a stiff neck
- Any numbness or weakness in your legs or buttocks
- Inability to stand up
- Difficulty passing urine or incontinence of faeces