Pain relief in labour
Various methods of pain relief are available. Discuss each of them with you doctor, antenatal class staff and midwifes befor eyou go into labour. They can be categorised into: 1) Natural methods 2) Drugs Analgesia
1) Natural methods ( 3 important principles taught antenatilly):
i) Positioning and mobility
Being mobile helps in pain relief. Rocking movement in bed and walking, sitting, kneeling or squatting will help with pain and in aiding the baby to descend through the birth canal.
Breathing techniques learned antenatilly will assist you a great deal to relieve pain as they will help you to relax.
iii) Relaxation and Diversional therapy.:
It is important to keep the shoulders, arms, abdomen, back and legs relaxed. These can also be gently massaged between contractions. Try to focus on something other than the pain e.g. music, board game, reading a magazine etc.
2) Drugs Analgesia
i) Entonox (Gas)
"Entonox is a trade name to describe the equal mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide. The gas is given via a mask and is breathed with each contraction. It is particularly valuable towards the end of the 1st stage of labour. It does not have any harmfull effects on the baby.
ii) Regional analgesia (Epidural)
An epidural involves blocking pain messages from the uterus to the brain by administering local anaesthetic via a plastic tube placed in the lower back. An anaesthetist will first explain and then perform the procedure. You will be required to sign permission for the epidural to be performed.
iii) Analgesia (injection)
Many women find an injection of analgesic drugs a very efective means of pain control. This is sedative in effect and allows a few hours of sleep. It does not take the pain away completely but takes the edge of it. The analgesia is usually given with a antiemetic to counteract the feeling of nausea, e.g. pethidine with aterax. Pethidine can cross the placental barrier though and have a effect on the baby. It is therfor not advisable to give it to close to the time of birth. There is a antidote though (Narcan) and this can be given to the mom at the end of stage 1 and to the baby. This reverses the effect on the baby