Labor and delivery is notoriously associated with pain. With that said, every woman will have her own kind of pain while in labor. It is advisable to plan ahead with regard to pain management. Even if surprises come up, with a well laid-out plan, you’ll know what your options are.
The Mayo Clinic lists several options for pain relief during early labor:
Change in position
Massage to the lower back
Ice packs or heat to lower back
Taking a shower or bath
As the pain intensifies and the labor proceeds, medications are available. Traditionally, epidurals and spinal blocks have been used to control pain in the lower body. Whatever the choice made, it is wise to know the pros and cons of your decision. For instance, relaxation and breathing techniques can give you a sense of control, but the pain is still there. On the other hand, medications have side effects. Some will make you drowsy or nauseated or may restrict you to one position. Needless to say, some medications tend to have an effect on the baby – temporary breathing problems or slowed reflexes.
So, let’s say you’ve started your contractions and all is well. But as your labor progresses, the pain does too. So much so that you are compelled to ask for help. At what point is it okay to ask for pain relief? According to the Mayo Clinic, at any point during labor and delivery a patient is free to ask for pain relief. So don’t be shy. If you need to ask, ask. You haven’t failed; you’ve just went your limit. We all have them.
The Mayo Clinic list some other things to be considered in making your pain relief choice, such as finding out what’s all involved in this method, how quickly will it work, how long it will last, will it be safe to combine with other pain relief, what if it doesn’t work or take, will you remember or be awake and will you be able to breast-feed your baby afterwards.
Best in Health!
Resources: Mayo Clinic
Dita Faulkner is a freelance writer who assists at-risk families in the state of Tennessee.