How to cope with the pain of labour
Deciding what pain relief you want during labour is an important consideration for most mums when they are writing their birth plan.
At a glance
- Planning your pain relief is an important consideration when writing a birthing plan
- Your midwife will talk through what will be available on the day
- Once you are holding your new arrival, the pain of labour is often forgotten
It’s a well- known fact that once your holding your new arrival in your arms the pain of labour is forgotten.
However, that doesn’t mean we want – or have – to go through labour without any pain relief.
Your midwife will talk you through what will be available you on the day, and you might want to write in your birth plan what pain killers you would prefer to have (or indeed, not be offered). Don't worry about changing your mind on the day, even if you plan for a natural, drug free delivery you can still request an epidural or pethidine once things get going – your midwives won't bat an eyelid!
What is available to you once labour kicks in?
TENS machines are great in early labour and can really take the edge off your twinges. They work by delivering tiny electronic shocks via little pads which you stick on to your lower back – the current then stimulates your nerves to help relieve the pain. You will probably have to buy or hire one of these privately.
Gas and air
Gas and air – or Entonox – is a mix of oxygen and nitrous oxide which you breathe in via a mouthpiece as each contraction starts. It has no effect on your baby, and you can stay in control of how much you inhale. However, it can dry your mouth out so keep some lip balm to hand!
Pethidine is given by an injection in your thigh or bottom, and will help you to 'distance' yourself from the pain of your contractions. If your labour is long, it may also enable you to get some rest. However, some mums find it makes them feel dizzy or sick.
An epidural is an anaesthetic which is injected into your lower back. It will numb you from the waist down. It takes around 20 minutes to set up, and has an immediate effect. However, some mums say their epidural left them with short-term backache. There is also an increased risk of needing a forceps or ventouse delivery if you have an epidural.
Care to share? Speak to other mums in the Bounty Community on the pain relief they plan to use while in labour.
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