Pain Relief in Labour

Many of you will learn pain relief techniques for management of pain at home while you are in early labour. These can be used while you are at hospital as well as when you are in active labour.

Many women find that a firm massage of the low back is helpful. Try various positions such as standing, leaning forward on your partner while having your low back supported, sitting leaning forward on a chair or couch, rocking on an exercise ball, or crouching on all fours. Often a hot shower directed on your back or a warm bath is soothing. Once your water breaks a shower is safe but please avoid the bath. Some women find that meditation or self hypnosis eases the pain of labour. Slow regular breathing during contractions is helpful. Relax completely between contractions.

When in later stages of active labour, some women wish to use other methods of pain relief. Entonox is a gas you breathe during contractions which can help to ease pain and help with relaxation. Morphine is a narcotic injection that can reduce pain but will likely cause some sedation. This is very helpful to allow rest between contractions. Fentanyl is a narcotic that can be used when delivery of the baby is expected within an hour or so. An epidural can be administered by a pain specialist for almost complete relief of pain. It is administered through a small catheter placed outside of the area of the spinal cord.

Your nurse and doctor will be able to give you more complete information on pain control techniques, their benefits and side effects.

We support you in your decisions regarding your choice of pain control techniques. We respect that every woman approaches her labour in her own way, and that every labour and delivery is unique and special.