Pregnancy can be a harrowing one for those of us with a very low threshold of pain. Thanks to the advancement of medicine today, one can now go through this exacting experience without having to battle the agonising pain. Some women are keen to avoid drugs or other medical interventions while others are happy to consider all available options.
Non-medical pain relief options
- Regular exercise and healthy diet
- Antenatal classes to prepare the patient for what’s to come.
- Breathing techniques to help you with managing the contractions
- Hot or cold packs
- Hypnosis, acupuncture and acupressure
Medical pain relief options
Nitrous oxide doesn’t stop the pain entirely, but takes the ‘edge’ off the intensity of each contraction. Many women prefer nitrous oxide because it allows them direct control. Nitrous oxide doesn’t interfere with contractions and it doesn’t linger in either the woman’s or the baby’s body.
Pethidine is a strong pain reliever (related to morphine and heroin), usually injected directly into a muscle in the buttock. It may also be administered intravenously (directly into a vein). Depending on various factors, the effect of pethidine can last anywhere from two to four hours.
Epidural injections are the most effective pain relief available. They are used for vaginal births and also for caesarean sections, because they allow the mother to stay awake and alert during the baby’s birth. Anaesthetic is injected into the lining of the spinal cord through the back, which makes the mother feel numb from the waist down. Your baby’s heart rate will be monitored continuously.