Even though epidurals are a very effective way to control pain during labor (though that does not mean they relieve suffering or anxiety), nearly 16% of epidurals are not effective. Sometimes women cannot even get them before their baby is born. Here are a few suggestions discussing coping with labor pain when you were expecting an epidural.
1. Even if you are planning on an epidural, a doula has many benefits.
This is easier said than done. Ideally you should go into labor knowing things may not go as expected and plan for that. Letting go of negative feelings is easier if you come prepared.
Anim-Somuah M, Smyth R, Jones L. Epidural versus non-epidural or no analgesia in labour. Cochrane Database Sys Rev 2011; (12): CD000331.
Agaram, R. (2009). Inadequate pain relief with labor epidurals: a multivariate analysis of associated factors. Int J Obstet Anesth. 2009 Jan;18(1)