Pain control in labor
Labor and childbirth are painful. Thankfully there are many different options for pain control during the labor and delivery process. Here are some of the most common methods to help.
Natural or unmedicated:
If you choose to have an unmedicated birth that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to help control your pain.
Staying mobile whether that is walking, using a birthing ball, squatting, etc.
Many hospitals also allow patients to shower as long as it is safe for both you and baby
Heat or ice to the low back
Frequent position changes
Breathing or relaxation exercises
An epidural is placed by a member of the anesthesia team. They will use an injection of numbing medication in your back and then place a very thin tube that will continuously pump pain medication during your labor. An epidural often helps lessen or even eliminate the pain of contractions while still allowing you to feel the urge to push when it's time.
Opioids are pain medications that are given through your IV. These medications can make you feel “loopy” or sleepy and help with pain control. Opioids are passed through the placenta to the baby and can cause your baby to have breathing difficulties so it is important to limit their use close to the time of delivery. Opioids wear off and you may need multiple doses during labor.
Most pain can be managed with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or NSAIDs (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil). If pain is severe, narcotic medications can be used as well. Heat and/or ice are also helpful. If you had a tear or laceration, topical numbing sprays are available.