How Long After Pitocin To Get Epidural (And Why)?

How Long After Pitocin To Get Epidural (And Why)?

Exact Answer: As soon as possible

Epidural is a kind of anesthetic that is used on women in labor. The chemical concoction of the epidural formula helps assuage the pain of the contractions felt by the pregnant woman. It is the most well-known and common pain relief intravenous injection that laboring moms either ask for or are offered by the medical staff in the hospital delivery rooms.

Pitocin, on the other hand, is an inducing drug used to initiate labor in pregnant women. The drug is used when the woman has already bypassed her due date, or when she wants to hasten the delivery process. Again, Pitocin is one of the most well-known and commonly administered inducing drugs to be used on pregnant women.

How Long After Pitocin To Get Epidural

How Long After Pitocin To Get Epidural?

As an inducing agent, Pitocin works quite effectively in laboring moms. It can streamline the delivery process by a good number of hours. Once the drip is started, active labor may begin and end within 4 to 6 hours. Only in certain specific cases, Pitocin takes longer to work than this upper time frame.

Usually, when a laboring mom opts to be induced with a Pitocin drip, she also opts for an epidural. The OBGYN in charge will suggest that both Pitocin and the epidural are administered very close to one another. There is no set gap that exists between the two drugs used during delivery. Therefore, inducing labor almost necessitates the use of an epidural. There needs to be no gap between the two medications as such.

Only in certain specific instances, an epidural is out of the bounds of the laboring mom. When women have certain pregnancy-related complications like preeclampsia, epidurals cannot be administered to them. An epidural would lower the overall platelet levels of the mother in such a scenario. Thus, in such cases, a laboring mother may be induced with a Pitocin drip, but an epidural may not be administered at all.

Epidural injection

However, the general norm is that of administering epidural as soon as Pitocin is started. If there are no complications in the blood work of the woman or in the family and medical history of the individual, then there are no boundaries to the epidural use. Nonetheless, there are women who opt out of an epidural even when they are induced with Pitocin.

In Summary:

MedicationTime of Administration
EpiduralAs soon as possible after the Pitocin drip

Why Does It Take So Long After Pitocin To Get Epidural?

After the Pitocin drip begins, using an epidural becomes extremely important. Research suggests that women who give birth by artificial induction- whether by using Pitocin or other methods- experience more pain than those who opt for a natural birth.

The reason is that Pitocin is known to cause severe uterine contractions. These contractions are much more powerful and severe than the natural ones and help push the baby through the cervix by dilating it. Active labor is achieved within a shorter time period is due to the severity of these contractions.

An epidural injection is pushed into the lower back of the laboring mother. It contains an anesthetic and an opioid like fentanyl. After this procedure is completed, the pregnant woman is asked to rest on her back, letting gravity distribute the medicine evenly. Within 15 to 20 minutes, the lower back and surrounding regions become numb and pain-free.

Epidural injection

This helps women manage the pain of the Pitocin-induced contractions. Medically induced labor is rigorous because it helps speed up the process of delivery. To manage this pain, relief medications are administered. Doctors tend to use an epidural as soon as possible after the Pitocin drip because it helps assuage the pain of the contractions by numbing the area.

There are only a few cases where women cannot be given an epidural after the Pitocin drip. In such situations as well, doctors may sometimes make exceptions in terms of opting for a pain relief option. They may administer a small amount of anesthetic to help alleviate the pain.


Inducing labor with Pitocin can help streamline the delivery process. This is especially true for women who do not want to suffer through the pain of contractions for 14 to 18 hours. Pitocin does aid in truncating the time taken to deliver the baby. However, it also causes severe contractions.

Most first-time mothers opt for an epidural as it helps relieve the pain of contractions. Usually, doctors suggest that when a woman is given Pitocin, she must also be administered the epidural as soon as possible. Epidurals are only banned from use under certain specific conditions. Otherwise, they are administered as soon as the Pitocin drip is started.



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19 thoughts on “How Long After Pitocin To Get Epidural (And Why)?”

  1. I never realized the importance of the timing between these medications until reading this article.

  2. This is a very comprehensive explanation of the use of epidural and Pitocin during labor. It’s great to have all this information.

  3. It’s important to be aware of how these medications are used, especially for expectant mothers. Every piece of information helps.

  4. Avatar of Robertson Kieran
    Robertson Kieran

    It seems like the use of epidural following Pitocin is quite standard and important for pain management.

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