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Pain Relief In Labor: Methods of Pain Relief During Child Birth and Delivery.

Dr. Adil R, MBBS

pain relief in labor
Pain Relief in Labor:
Birth is a difficult process but it brings immense joy and happiness to the woman which compensate for the pain to much extent. Birth can be extremely painful especially in primigravida (first pregnancy). Many women have watched birth scenes in TV and movies and think that labor is an extremely difficult and painful process. It is true but it is a natural process and nature has empowered women to pass through the process of labor.
Pain can be relieved in labor to considerable extent. A doctor will give you and explain several choices and it is up to mother what type of analgesia (pain relief method) she wants to use.
Here, you may learn about all the pain relief methods in labor and then you may discuss them with your doctor and choose the best according to your wishes. Let us discuss all the methods briefly.

Different Methods Used to Relive Pain in Labor:

1. Non-Pharmacological or General Method:
  • One-to-one care in labor from a mid-wife, doctor or birth partner provides mother the psychological support. Mother is provided with the opportunity to choose her birth partner.
  • Relaxation and breathing help the mother to cope up with her pain.
  • Homeopathy, acupuncture and hypnosis claim to relieve the birth pain but studies haven’t supported their claim.
  • Relaxation in warm water in early labor is often helpful. It gives mother a sense of wellbeing and comfort. The temperature of water should be maintained at 37.5 degree centigrade.
  • Trans electrical nerve stimulation is another method which can be used to relieve birth pain. Its mechanism will be explained in up coming articles (please like us of face book and subscribe by email)
You should keep in mind that these methods are not 100 percent successful. In some women they reduce only small amount of pain while in other women they work better but they don’t relieve pain completely.

2. Pharmacological Methods:
Following pharmacological methods can be used.
2.1. Opiate analgesia:
Opiates such as pethidine and diamorphine are still used in labor for pain relief. They don’t need special method of administration so can be given by a mid-wife and can be taken at home. ( their mechanism of action and side effects will be discussed in detail in subsequent posts ). But they should be used in those women who have normal labor and are not on risk of caesarian section or complicated delivery.
2.2. Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA).
It is very interesting technique. A device which contain short acting opiate is attached to the patient. It has a button, which when pressed releases small amount of short acting opiates into the blood of mother. This device is given to the mother and when she feels pain (as during contraction) she presses button to release the analgesic.

2.3. Inhalation analgesia:
Mixture of nitric oxide and oxygen is used for pain relief in labor. This is more effective than opiates but is more risky for fetus. This is given in the late stages of labor under careful monitoring.

2.4. Epidural analgesia:
This method has gained much popularity. This is very effective method of analgesia. The decision depends on the mother, her mid-wife and obstetrician. This require comprehensive technique, care and monitoring and should be performed in higher units. It is useful in prolonged labor, maternal hypertensive disorder, multiple gestation etc. It should be used in later stages of labor. But can be used early if mother is in severe pain.

2.5. Spinal Analgesia.
Spinal Analgesia is the most effective method. It is more effective than epidural analgesia. It provide complete analgesia. It can be used for caesarian section and manual removal of placenta after delivery.

2.6. Combined Spinal-Epidural Analgesia.
It is gaining popularity. Lesser dose of analgesic is require and pain relief is fast.

Now you know the different methods of pain relief in labor. Discuss these methods with you obstetrician and choose the best for yourself.

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