Labor Pain Management
Perhaps one of the following describes you:
- I am absolutely sure that I want every pain relief option available.
- I am not sure about my options.
- I am worried at how the options might affect my baby.
- I prefer to have my baby naturally.
No matter what your plans for labor are, it is helpful to be aware of different pain management options. Labor is rather unpredictable. It could be relatively painless and go quickly, or it could last much longer than expected. You should keep yourself open to the possibility of needing more help should the pain become more than you can bear.
The best way to prepare is to be aware of your options when it comes to pain management. Never be afraid to ask for help.
If you are choosing to have your baby naturally, there are many ways to help you cope with the pain. The Birthing Center staff has years of experience and are very used to sharing different birthing techniques and positions to help you stay comfortable. Some of our birthing rooms are equipped with Jacuzzi tubs to help you relax.
For this option, different types of medicines are used during the different stages of labor and your doctor will help determine which one is best. Medications early in labor are typically used to help you rest and relax, rather than to alleviate pain. During active labor, medication is given to help take the edge off, raise the pain threshold and reduce the level of pain.
This form of pain relief affects the entire body and certain side effects, such as drowsiness, are possible.
This option has become the choice of many women. During an epidural, a catheter is carefully inserted between the vertebrae in an area called the “epidural space.” After an initial dose of anesthesia, the catheter is connected to a pump, allowing the mother to control the amount of anesthesia she needs.
An epidural numbs the body from the waist down, allowing you to be fully awake, but able to relax during contractions and deliver with reduced pain.
Some Facts About Labor Pain
Women experience labor pains in a variety of ways. While it’s not entirely clear why some labors are more intense than others, some studies have shown some interesting facts.
- Pain is more likely to be stronger if you are young, going through the experience for the first time.
- Pain may be greater if the baby is large or the mother has gained excessive weight during pregnancy.
- Women who experience severe back pain with menstruation are more likely to have a painful labor.
- Use of induction medication, such as pitocin, also correlates with a more intense labor.