Popular methods to help you get pain relief when you’re in Labour
Labour is exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. It really is like riding a rollercoaster with moments of exhilaration and anxiety. You’re excited about your baby coming into the world, but you’re also worried about the pain. For most women giving birth is painful, but there are plenty of ways to get relief. Here are some you’ll be offered by your midwife and some other your might want to consider.
Gas and air is taken through a mouthpiece. It helps to reduce pain. There’s no bad side-effects although it might make you feel a little dizzy or woozy. You can take it throughout your labour, stopping and starting as and when you want it. It is a popular choice for women who don’t want an epidural.
An epidural is a local anaesthetic which in most women stops labour pains completely. There are two types available, one is a traditional epidural which you can have while you’re in bed. The other is called a mobile epidural which allows you to move about if you wish. Check to see if mobile epidurals are available at your hospital as they aren’t available everywhere.
The injection is administered by an Anaesthetist and it works by having a drip put into your arm and a very fine tube inserted into your back. From the time the needle is inserted until you feel pain relief takes about 25 minutes.
You should talk to your midwife if you want an epidural and she will explain the process and tell you more about the after effects.
A pethidine injection may be offered to you at the hospital if you’re finding it hard to relax. You won’t be able to have one if you’re almost ready to push because it could affect baby’s breathing. However, if you have an injection early on in your labour it should help you to feel calm and relaxed. It is not as popular with women as an epidural or gas and air and this is probably because it can make you very drowsy.
Warm water helps you to stay relaxed, so a birthing pool is a pleasant way to relieve the pain of labour. Your partner can also stay with you in the pool for support. It’s recommended that you use the pool when you are having strong contractions because the effects of the water help the pain and using the pool early on is thought to slow your labour down. It is perfectly safe for your baby to born in the pool, as the umbilical chord will still supply oxygen as he or she is being born. You’ll need to let your midwife know that you want a birthing pool so that she can make sure there is one available.
You get a TENS machine at some hospitals or you can buy one yourself for around £60. The machines are recommended for use during the early stages of labour and it is supposed to be especially helpful if you have lower back pain.
A TENS machine sends weak electrical pulses into your body which are said to stimulate the production of endorphins, which are a natural painkiller.
Other Forms of Pain Relief
If you prefer an alternative approach to pain relief, you can try acupuncture, aromatherapy, hypnosis, massage, reflexology or homoeopathy. These aren’t methods provided by the National Health Service. You can find your own practitioner who will teach you and/or your partner how to put the methods into practice during labour.
Talk to your midwife about the various forms of pain relief and include your choices in your birth plan. Don’t forget to try and stay calm and focused and breathing deeply helps a lot too.