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Labor and delivery are 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:
Techniques in breath control
Change in position
Lower back massages
Ice packs or heat to lower back
Playing soothing music
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?
Basically, 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 been defeated, you’ve just gone your limit. We all have them.
Other things to consider while making your pain relief choice may be: finding out what’s involved in the option you’re interested in, how fast will it start to work, and how long it will last.
Will it be safe to combine with other pain relief? What if it is not effective for you? Will you be awake or be able to interact during the process, and/or will you be able to breast-feed your baby afterwards? All these questions should be considered.
Best in Health!
Labor Pain: Weigh Your Options for Relief. Mayo Clinic. Web. 21 November 2011.