Labor Pain Control Options
As you prepare for the birth of your baby, your doctor will discuss options available to you for pain management during labor. No two labors are the same and so the amount of pain you experience will depend on several factors such as your level of pain tolerance or the type of labor you’re having. For example “back labor” (this is when your baby’s spine is rubbing up against yours) can be more painful.
This quick reference guide will give you some labor pain control options. You should talk about your alternatives with your physician or midwife to determine which method you’d like to go with.
Pain control option #1: Epidural
An epidural is administered by an anesthesiologist. This type of pain control is most common among women today. An epidural is dispensed in the lower back. It allows for continual pain management throughout your labor.
Pain control option #2: Intravenous medications
Intravenous (IV) medications can be administered during early phases of labor. This type of pain relief lasts only briefly, to give you some relief. IV medications can make you and your baby sleepy, so they are only used during early labor for pain relief.
Pain control option #3: Mental relaxation
Women who are opting for natural births should utilize mental relaxation techniques. This type of pain control relies heavily on the mother keeping herself calm and relaxed during labor. You must be mentally strong and able to control your mind and thoughts. You should spend as much of your pregnancy as possible practicing relaxation techniques.
Labor Pain control option #4: Water Birth
Many pregnant women in labor like this method of pain management. In fact, hospitals around the world are incorporating water birthing centers into their labor and delivery floors. Using a tub or shower, you are able to better handle your labor contractions. Water seems to ease the tension and help women relax during their labor. Please note, if your waters break avoid water until you consult your midwife or physician.
Labor Pain control option #5: Gas and Air (Entonox)
The gas, a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide, is administered through a mask or mouthpiece, allowing women to control the amount they take in. When you feel a contraction you take in a deep breath of gas and it will alleviate your symptoms. Some women don’t like the gas because it makes them feel a bit drowsy or “drunk” while others find it really helps.
Like labor all birth control options are not created equally and what works for some may not work for others. The best thing you can do is prepare yourself with as much information possible so that you can know all your choices before the labor.
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