Pregnancy 101: Pain management during labour

For most women, especially first-time mothers, it’s the pain they’re going to endure during labour that worries them the most. After all, there’s no doubt that they’ve heard plenty of stories of hours of labour, or watched numerous videos of women screaming in the delivery room, that the pain seems to get the better of them.

This is exactly why, this article talks about some of the pain management methods that you can opt for. Naturally, there are some pharmacological methods and some non- pharmacological methods you can choose from.

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Medical Intervention

A pharmacological method is also treated as an intervention, as it interferes with the natural process. However, in some cases, it can be a blessing. Let’s start with the epidural.

This is an analgesic which is administered in the lower back, and numbs all sensation in the lower body. The contractions still proceed as normal; the only difference is that, now, the nerves do not carry the pain sensation to the brain. As it is administered in the lower back, most mothers feel that it causes a permanent backache. However, this is not true. Epidurals are used all over the world for most lower body surgeries.

If a woman in labour is experiencing a lot of pain and discomfort, and if she is progressing slowly, then an epidural may be the right choice for her as it can help to relax her. On the other hand, if labour is moving well and she is coping with the contractions, taking an epidural can slow things down. It’s really her decision whether to take the epidural or not.

However, she can take this call only during labour. Another popular pain management option is Entonox gas which is popularly known as laughing gas, and is made of 50 per cent nitrous oxide and 50 per cent oxygen

These are natural gases and are considered safe for mother and child. Another plus is that it is self administered which means the mom takes it on an SOS basis. The effects are temporary and wears off very easily. It can also make you feel sick or nauseated. Many women find that taking it for long durations, can leave the mouth feeling very dry. There are some other drugs available for pain relief during labour but these are injectables and directly get into the bloodstream.

This affects the foetus as well, and unless absolutely necessary, are not prescribed for women in labour.