Pain relief: the medical options

Your options for pain relief during labour: the facts about medical options available to you.

1 of

Ad break

  • Pain relief: the medical options

    As B-Day approaches, one thing preying on your mind will be how you'll manage the pain.

    'There are no Brownie points for bravery,' says consultant midwife Annette Briley. 'If you need pain relief, don't be afraid to ask. There are many different types on offer, and the more you know about them, the more confident you will feel.' 

  • Pain relief: the medical options

    Tens Machine


    (Trancutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation):
    Uses electrical pulses to stimulate your body's own painkilling hormones and prevent pain signals reaching your brain.

    Pros


    You're in control - most effective if used from early labour.

    CONS:


    Not strong enough for everyone. Needs to be removed in water and for foetal monitoring.
  • Pain relief: the medical options

    GAS AND AIR (Entonox):


    A mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen.

    PROS:


    Fast working. No side effects for your baby.

    CONS:


    It can make you feel light-headed and sick.
  • Pain relief: the medical options

    PETHIDINE/DIAMORPHINE/MEPTID:


    These opiate drugs are either injected or given via a drip.

    PROS:


    They help you relax and sleep.

    CONS:


    Can make you woozy and cause breathing problems in the baby.
  • Continue slideshow >

  • Pain relief: the medical options

    EPIDURAL:


    Local anaesthetic is given through a fine tube inserted into the 'epidural space' at the lower part of the spine.

    PROS:


    Nine out of 10 women feel total pain relief. Some units offer mobile epidurals, a lower dose drug, so you can still feel the urge to push.

    CONS:

    Your legs will be numb and you'll need a catheter, as you won't know when your bladder is full. It can lengthen labour and you're more likely to need a forceps delivery.
  • Pain relief: the medical options

    SPINAL BLOCK:


    Used before a planned or 'elective' Caesarean, this is an injection of local anaesthetic into the fluid around the spinal cord, in the small of the back. It lasts around two hours and is given in a single dose.

    PROS:

    It's fast acting and no tube is left in your back.

    CONS:


    Your legs will be numb so you won't be able to move around. You may feel shivery, sick and get a headache.

Last updated on 2 October 2007

Comments

Daily deals from top retailers