No matter what your plans for labor are, it’s helpful to know your pain management options. Labor can be unpredictable. It may be relatively painless and go quickly, or it could last longer than expected and, well, you might care to manage your pain. You should really keep yourself open to the possibility of needing help, should labor pain become more than you’d like to bear.

The best way to prepare is to be aware of your options.

Available Options

Natural Childbirth

If you’re choosing to have your baby naturally, there are several ways we can help. The SIH 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.

Pain Medications

Different types of medicines are used during different stages of labor, and your doctor will help determine what’s best for you. 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 of pain, raise your pain threshold, and to simply lower your level of pain.

This form of pain relief affects the entire body and certain side effects, such as drowsiness, are possible.

Epidural

This is a popular option. 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, which allows you to control the amount of anesthesia you need.

An epidural numbs the body from the waist down. It allows you to be fully awake, but also the ability to relax during contractions. It allows you to deliver with reduced pain.

Nitrous Oxide (Our Latest Advanced Available Option!)

Nitrous oxide is a mixture of 50% nitrous gas and 50% oxygen. A special machine is used to mix the nitrous gas an oxygen. The nitrous oxide gas is delivered through a face mask that you hold yourself. As you inhale, the nitrous oxide gas enters your system and as you exhale the gas leaves your system. The nitrous oxide gas helps you to relax and decreases the sensation of pain and anxiety. Not all women experience the same results with nitrous oxide. The effects of nitrous oxide begin within 30-50 seconds of the first breath of the nitrous oxide. It is eliminated from the body within a few minutes after the last breath of nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is most effective when inhalation of the gas begins about 30 seconds before the start of a contraction.