Pain Medication for Labour and Delivery

Updated at: Dec 06, 2011
Pain Medication for Labour and Delivery

You need to know how to decide about pain medication for labour and delivery as well as the options of pain medications available to you.

Vatsal Anand
PregnancyWritten by: Vatsal AnandPublished at: Sep 02, 2011

Pain in pregnancyIt is not long ago that labour and delivery were supposed to be endured most of the times. Pain medications were used sparingly or they were not easily available. Now-a-days, it is exactly the opposite, women have many options and the question is not whether medications should be used or not, but rather which one to use. You need to know your options and ask yourself a few questions before deciding upon the medication to be used.


How to decide your Pain Medication for Labour

It is important that you do not pay heed to what other women say about the serious complications they faced, as they might have misunderstood their condition and did not prepare for it well. You also need to consider some factors that affect your condition:

  • Duration of Sleep before the start of labour.
  • Do you feel exhausted or have some energy left?
  • Duration of your labour – Not to say that longer durations of labour are impossible without medication, just that you need to plan different to endure pain for long.
  • If you are lying in bed, it can create more pain and the need for medications. To monitor the condition, you may stand up, use a chair or be in a different position on the bed.
  • Do you have many people helping in your condition or they are busy with other tasks?
  • Position of your baby. Some positions induce more pain for the mom.
  • Knowledge about the four stages of labour and delivery. The more you know what is happening, the better prepared you will be for dealing with the pain.


Options of Pain Medications for Labour

  • Systemic medications – These make your pain dull but do not end it altogether. You do not lose consciousness with these drugs but only feel sleepy.
  • Epidural – Epidurals provide relief from pain to the lower body part. Medication comprising of local anaesthetic and a narcotic is administered to your spine by using the equipment called catheter. The overall effect of an epidural is very useful; it provides very good pain relief but does not affect the ability to move the legs as much.
  • Spinal block – It is an injection to the spinal fluid that provides immediate pain relief but does not lasts only a few hours. You or your obstetrician may decide to use spinal block for relief late in labour or when the delivery is likely to occur before expected.
  • Combined epidural-spinal – Spinal injection and epidural is used together at times. This is useful for immediate respite from pain as well as continuous relief. The advantage of this is that you can get immediate relief from the injection and by the time its effect is over, the epidural takes over.


Read more articles on Childbirth (Delivery)



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