Harvard Health Blog
Contrary to popular belief, epidurals don't prolong labor. Phew.
By: Hope Ricciotti, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Women's Health Watch It used to be common for doctors to turn down or stop the pain medication flowing in an epidural during labor if progress slowed down. This practice was particularly common if the pushing stage of labor was prolonged. Many doctors and nurses, myself included, believed that the pelvic muscles were not optimally working because of the numbing effect of the epidural anesthesia.