Labor pain is part if your pregnancy, and so you cannot really avoid it. You can however apply some techniques that would help you to get some relief.
Experience labour pain is considered to be one of the most harrowing experiences at child birth. Most mothers dread a labor and so prefer to avoid it with the help of better understanding of the subject and development of scientific tools and medicines, painless delivery is no longer a dream
What pain relief is available?
It is difficult to know beforehand what sort of pain relief will be the best for you. Your doctor will discuss the option with you and help you arrive at the best alternative. Here is some information about the main method of pain relief available.
Self- helps methods
- Clam breathing may increase the oxygen supplied to your muscles and so makes the pain less intense.
- Relaxation Exercise can help decrease perception of pain. It can be difficult to relax when you are in pain, which is why it is recommended that you practice the exercises and the methods before you actually go into labour. There are a number of different ways you can learn to relax.
- Having a massage while you are in labour is often very comforting and reassuring.
- Aromatherapy involves using concentrated essential oils to reduce fear, improve your wellbeing and encourage you to keep going.
- Reflexology involves massaging specific points on your feet that relate to the part of your body that induce pain during labour.
- Hypnosis can distract you from the pain .You can be trained to hypnotize yourself (self-hypnosis),which you will need to practise while you are pregnant. Alternately, a hypnotherapist could be with u during labour.
- Acupuncture involves inserting needles into specific points in your body to help reduce the pain. the therapist monitors this during your labour.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
A gentle electrical current is passed through four flat pads attached to your ack the current generates a tingling sensation .you can control the strength of the current yourself.
- It may help at the beginning of labour, particularly for backache.
- It has no adverse effects on your body
Entonox is a gas made up of 50% nitrous oxide and 50% oxygen. it is sometimes Known as gas and air. You breathe this mixture through a mask or mouth piece.
- It is quick to act, and wear off in minutes.
- It makes you feel light handed or a little nauseous briefly.
- It does not harm your body and give u extra oxygen, which may be good for you and your body.
- It will not take the pain away completely, but may help.
- It can be used any time in labour
Opioids: Morphine-like painkiller
- Opioids includes painkiller such as a pethidine, morphine, fentanyl and remifentanil.
- These morphine’s-like painkillers act in a similar way.
- Opioids are usually injected into a large muscle in your arm or leg.
- Pain relief starts after about half an hour and may last a few hours.
- It is less effective than entonox however; some women say it makes them feel more relaxed and less worried about the pain
- May make you feel nauseous, but you are usually given an anti-sickness medication to stop this.
- May slow down your breathing. If this happens, you may be given oxygen via a face-mask and have your oxygen level monitored.
- May make your baby slow to take its first breath, but an injection can be given to your baby to stop this.
- May make your baby drowsy, and this may mean that it cannot feed as well as normal(especially with pethidine).
- If you are given opioids just before you give birth to the baby , the effect on your baby is negligible.
Epidurals and Spinals
Epidural and spinals are the most effective methods of pain relief.
- The anaesthetist inserts a needle in the lower part of your back and uses it to place an epidural catheter (a very thin tube) near the nerves in your spine. The epidural catheter is left in place when the needle is withdrawn so you can be administered painkillers during labour.
- May take 40 minute (the total time period) to provide the needed relief.
- Does not make you feel drowsy or nauseous.
- Marginally increases the chance that your obstetrician will ascertain if you are fit to receive an epidural.
- A combined spinal-epidural is given to almost all women who want strong pain relief instead of epidural alone.
Who can or Cannot have an Epidural
Most women in labour can be administered an epidural, but certain medical problems may mean that it is not suitable for you. Your obstetrician will ascertain if you are fit to receive an epidural.
- Epidural lessen the pain of labour more than any other treatment.
- Reduce the need for a caesarean section
- Reduce the probability of long term backache is common during pregnancy and often continues afterwards.
- May lead to a tender spot in your back which may through rarely last for a few months.
- Increase the likelihood of low blood pressure, itchiness, and difficulty in passing urine. For the latter, a tube in inserted into your bladder(a bladder catheter) to drain the urine
- Induce a sense of weakness in the legs while the epidural is working.
- Around one in every 100 women could get a server headache because of “Dural puncture”. If you do develop a severe headache, your anaesthetist will advise you about the treatment options available.
Labor can be very painful and so it is important to earn about all the ways that are there to relieve the pain, and furthermore, it is important for you to know the various options that are available at such a time.
Dr Swaraj Garg, HOD, Anesthesia, Pushpanjali Crosslay Hospital
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