Patient controlled epidural analgesia (PCEA) allows you to dispense additional pain relieving medicine into your epidural, whenever you feel pain or discomfort. The anesthesiologist initiates the epidural to provide a constant baseline level of pain relief and provides you with a corded switch from the pump, which enables you to deliver additional amounts at your will. The anesthesiologist sets limits in the pump, which prevent overuse of medicine. PCEA is just an extension of continuous epidural analgesia that we currently use, just as the combined spinal-epidural technique is an extension of an epidural. There are no added side effects or complications as a result of the PCEA technique. On the other hand, PCEA provides similar pain relief to that of a continuous infusion with a lower anesthetic dosage and with less foot and leg numbness. PCEA has been gaining in popularity over the last few years, as it is easy to use, reduces physician interventions, and expectant mothers are very satisfied with this technique. In addition, this technique offers a sense of control over the extent of pain relief you desire.