Epidurals during pregnancy: risks
-Infection. Severe infections are rare, occurring in 0.1% to 0.01% of injections.
-Dural puncture ("wet tap"). A dural puncture occurs in 0.5% of injections. It may cause a post-dural puncture headache (also called a spinal headache) that usually improves within a few days. Although infrequent, a blood patch may be necessary to alleviate the headache. A blood patch is a simple, quick procedure that involves obtaining a small amount of blood from a patient from an arm vein and immediately injecting it into the epidural space to allow it to clot around the spinal sac and stop the leak.
-Bleeding. Bleeding is a rare complication and is more common for patients with underlying bleeding disorders.
-Nerve damage. While extremely rare, nerve damage can occur from direct trauma from the needle, or from infection or bleeding.