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Medical Pain Relief Options During Labour

After the joy of discovering you are pregnant its not uncommon to suddenly switch that emotion to one of worry about the pain of childbirth.

A variety of drugs are available that can help assist and ease the birthing process. Its good know well in advance what your options are and what each of these involve so you can make clear and informed decisions when the time comes.

 

GAS AND AIR

A mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide via a face mask or mouthpiece is commonly offered as a pain relief option in the early stages of labour.

The benefits is that you are able to control this yourself to time with your contractions. Inhaling the gas which can help reduce pain. You can also usually use this whilst in the bath or shower.

Possible Side Effects: Has can make some woman feel nauseous and lightheaded. The pain can be reduced but not eliminated.

INJECTABLE DRUGS

This is a type of opioid drug, which in Australia, is commonly pathidine. This types of pain relief is injected into a large muscle area such as the thigh and is designed to help you relax and reduce pain quickly and effectively.

These opioid type of drugs usually last between 2-3 hours. If you are provided with these drugs during early labour, the benefit can be, that you are able to rest without affecting your ability to push when needed.

Possible Side Effects: This is unable to be given close to delivery as this type of drug can slow the babys breathing and heart rate. It can also make the mother feel drowsy and nauseous.

EPIDURAL

This is a form of local anaesthetic which is injected into the space between the membrane covering the spinal cord and the spinal colum in the lower back. It is effective within 20 minutes and if nessesary can be topped up during labour if needed.

The benefit of this type of pain relief is that it provides complete numbing of the lower part of your body, however you will still be wide awake and alert.

Possible Side Effects: This type of pain relief can prolong the pushing part of labour. You may not be able to feel your contractions so will need to be told when to push rather than instinct. You may also require a catheter to urinate post birth until it wears off and your legs may feel heavy. Headaches are also common post epidural.

SPINAL BLOCK

This is another type of regional anaesthetic applied to the lower back. Just as an epidural provides complete relief to the lower body so does the spinal block, however, this is only able to be used once and cannot be topped up.

To do this, a much thinner needle is used, in which the drug is injected into the sac of spinal fluid below the spinal cord.  This is usually not used for pain relief during labour but rather to prepare the Mother for a caesarian or use of foreceps for delivery.

Possible Side Effects: This can cause a Mother’s blood pressure to decrease which can slow the baby’s heart rate.

WHAT YOU CAN DO IN THE LEAD UP TO BIRTH.

Red raspberry leaf tea has traditionally been used to help strengthen and tone the uterus during the third trimester in preparation for labour.

Like any muscle in the body, by having strong uterine walls you can help your body achieve more effective and efficient contracts which may also help to shorten the duration of labour. This can also assist in a faster recovery as your tonified uterus may be able to contract back after birth more effectively.

Our CAPACITEA red raspberry leaf blend is professionally developed by our team of Naturopaths, Dietitians and Certified Australian Tea Master.

Recommended to enjoy 1 cup a day from 27 weeks then gradually increase to 3-4 cups a day by 36 weeks until labour.