What the Doctor advises…

Pain relief is an important aspect of good progress during labour. It is interesting, however, that pain relief is what we desire while we wait to get to the delivery itself but conversely we need pain to be present at the time of the delivery for the delivery to be sped up. Quite a contradiction. Where pain relief during the latent and early active stages of labour relaxes the body and enhances the progressive opening of the cervix to eventually get to full dilatation, the presence of pain at the time of full dilatation helps to guide the delivering patient to exert adequately strong and effective pushes.

To give a successful vaginal delivery the best chance it is strongly advised to be as conservative as possible. A stepwise approach is therefore what is suggested. This a generalised recommendation, subject to change in individual cases.

Conservative pain management

(ie walking, back rubbing, bathing)
If still early in labour but cannot tolerate pain with conservative measure only then:

Pethidine injection

This is a morphine-like agent that helps to relax the patient in an attempt to progress to active labour and full dilatation without an epidural. If pain is still not well tolerated after pethidine injection then:

Epidural OR Entonox gas & Mobilisation

epidural_diagram_460_wide

Please feel free to discuss your labour and pain relief needs with the doctor at the 32 week visit.