pain relief in labour

Pain relief in labour

labour is indeed a painful process. You should be aware of pain relief options and must decide beforehand which pain relief options will be most suitable for you when you go into labour. you can always discuss with your midwife or doctor about different pain relief options available

different pain relief options are-

1 baseline interventions

2 interventions in low resource settings- nonpharmacological pain relief options

3 pharmacological pain relief options


1 help yourself to cope with pain

there are some self-help strategies you can use to help yourself cope with labour pain-

1 try to stay calm and relaxed

2 try to know more about labour beforehand in your antenatal classes

3 try breathing exercises

4 try to remain active in the labour

5 have a good support system around you

6 try massage and relaxation techniques


these options do not involve the use of any medication. they are

1 using the birthing ball

2 try massage during labour

3 try different positions 

4 breathing and relaxation techniques

5 water birth-

being in the water helps you to relax and helps in alleviating labour pains. The temperature of the pool is kept around 37.5C, and your temperature is also monitored. water birth can only be offered to you if 

1 pool is available at that time when you are in labour

2 you have an uncomplicated pregnancy

3 guidelines for offering water birth differ from hospital to hospital



it contains oxygen and nitrous oxide gas. It is often taken to reduce the pain. Pain is not entirely going away with gas and air. You are given a mask or mouthpiece, and you have to breathe in the gas when the contraction begins. It takes 15 to 20 seconds to start working.


1 you can use om your own

2 no expertise is needed in this

3 no harmful effects to you or your baby


1. It can make you feel sick at times

2 pain doesn’t completely go away


injections are given in the form of pethidine or diamorphine. The effect of these injections lasts for around 2 to 4 hours.


1 it will have short term effect in relieving pain


1 make you sick

2 can interfere with baby’s breathing if given in the second stage of labour


it is the most effective form of pain relief. an anesthetic drug is given to your back which will numb the nerves carrying pain impulses from the birth canal to the brain.

how does it work

once you are in established labour, an IV cannula will be inserted to start you on fluids

  • The anesthetist will explain to you all about epidural right from how it is done to side effects you may experience. An anesthetist will then clean the area of your back and will give some amount of local anesthetic to numb the area. He will introduce a needle in your back. A thin tube will be passed through this needle, and then drugs that numb the area will be given through this tube.  

cons of having epidural

your legs may feel heavy 

it can prolong your second stage of labour

it may increase the chances of having an instrumental delivery

you might get headaches after epidural


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