Labor pain differs from one person to another. The most suitable pain relief methods for a woman may also differ depending on her needs. Pain relief options are often decided based on the way in which labor progresses, and sometimes on personal preferences. Many people decide on the type of pain management option only after the start of labor. But knowing about the different options for managing pain during labor would help when you need it the most. Medicines, breathing techniques, comfort measures, or a combination of these different measures are all used in controlling pain during labor.
Some of the natural methods that may be of help in controlling pain include:
- Keeping your mind distracted from ongoing contractions during early labor is a well-tested method for controlling pain. Listening to favorite music, watching TV, or walking all help in diverting the attention from contractions and pain.
- Massaging the lower back, especially strong massage of the back muscles, and shoulders also help in relieving pain during labor.
- Have a supportive person right with you from early labor until delivery to help manage pain during labor and delivery.
- Changing positions during labor like kneeling, sitting on birth ball, or just walking are all known to help in relieving pain.
- Breathing techniques are also good in distracting mind from contractions and pain.
- Hypnosis is used by many women to reduce pain and anxiety during labor.
- Acupuncture is considered to be a low-risk method relieve pain during contractions.
A number of medicines are also recommended to manage labor pain. Injection of pain medications into the epidural space, called epidural anesthesia, is a popular method to control pain during labor. Injections are also given to the pelvic area to reduce pain. Pudendal is a pain-relieving injection given to the pelvic area, particularly during first labor close to delivery. Opioids are also used to relieve pain and anxiety.
Certain medications like local anesthesia, a spinal block, and general anesthesia are used generally during an emergency delivery.
Local anesthesia is injected into the skin before episiotomy that widens the vaginal opening during delivery. In spinal block the pain medication is injected into the spinal fluid. This is most often given during assisted deliveries like cesarean and forceps delivery.
Before choosing any of the methods to relieve pain, think how the method is going to affect you and the baby. You should also consider the side effects of the method. Knowing how long the effect of method will remain will also help in choosing the right option.