From e-How.com -
An epidural is adminstered to help with pain relief during labor. It is administered in the epidural space, is slow acting and allows a constant flow of medication.
According to the American Pregnancy Association The needle is inserted and a catheter is inserted through the needle into the back. The catheter is taped to the back and remains in place until after delivery. This allows a consistent flow of pain medication. The epidural will provide pain relief and generally a numb feeling from the waist down.
A spinal is a one time dose of medication administered directly into the spinal fluid prior to a C-section (if there wasn't previously an epidural).
The spinal is administered in much the same way as the epidural with the pregnant woman lying on her side or sitting in a hunched over position. The needle is inserted into the spinal fluid and the pain medication is administered. Unlike the epidural, which involves a constant stream of medication, the spinal is one injection and then the needle is removed from the back. The spinal is more commonly used for short term pain relief.
16 Aug '10, 22:55