If you are laboring for an insanely long time and not progressing much, sometimes an epidural can actually HELP you dilate! I wound up getting one after a couple days of non-stop, knock-me-on-my-rear, blinding contractions, and I actually got to relax! When I was able to relax, I started to dilate! 18-hrs after that, I had my VBAC baby! Wish I would have had someone tell me that with oldest dd! I may not have needed a c-section had I been able to relax after 24-hrs of pitocin-induced cx.
If they threaten c-section for failure-to-progress, you can buy time by asking about an epidural. If you'll wind up with a c-section and epi anyway, it's worth it to see if an epidural will help you relax and dilate.