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How do I position myself for epidural placment?

Bhavani Shankar Kodali MD,  Associate Professor

Ideal positions for epidural placement
For an ideal position, you should arch your spine in a such a way that you push your lower back outwards. Several words are used to describe this position to patients such as "letter 'C', 'like a shrimp', 'angry cat', 'pelvic tilt', etc. See the following figures to understand this position. It is worth practicing this position at home before heading to the hospital. Ideal position makes placement of epidural easy.
Sitting position

 

In addition to arching your back outwards, keep shoulders down without leaning to either side. Keep your chin down.

 

On the bed on your side

 

In addition to arching your back outwards, keep shoulders down without leaning forwards. Keep your chin down.

 

How does these positions help in facilitating epidural placement? To understand look at the following figures.

 

Arching your spine as described above, widens the gap between the spines as shown below to facilitate easy entry of the needle.
 

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