An epidural is the most effective form of drug pain relief and is only given after the onset of labour has been confirmed.

An anesthetist injects a small amount of anesthetic via a thin tube called a catheter outside the spinal cord which numbs all the nerves in the spinal cord. The tube is left in your spine so that it can be topped up at any time.

It takes about 15 minutes to insert and 15-20 minutes to become effective.