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Epidural block pack, United Kingdom, 1987

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Manufacturing company Everett made this sterile disposable pack. It contains equipment needed to inject local anaesthetic into the ‘epidural space’ (around the spinal cord) through a very fine catheter. This is a common form of pain relief used during childbirth. It is also sometimes used in the case of severe spinal injury. The technique is often referred to as epidural blocks. It was developed in the 1960s and is now widely available. The catheter is left in place once inserted so further local anaesthetic can be given if necessary. It greatly reduces the physical sensation of labour without affecting the mental state of the mother. The first recorded attempts at epidurals for childbirth actually date from 1885. They used cocaine as an anaesthetic. This example was made by manufacturing company Avon Medicals Limited.

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Glossary: obstetrics

A branch of medicine dealing with the care of women. This care occurs during pregnancy, childbirth, and the period of recovery from childbirth.

Glossary: epidural

A technique used in childbirth and gynaecological surgery. An anaesthetic is injected into the epidural space of the spinal cord, usually via a catheter. Sensation is lost in the abdominal, genital and pelvic areas as a result.

Glossary: epidural pack

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