Pain Medication during labor - Your Options


Minister's of Penmai
May 21, 2011
You may have several options for how you want your pain medication delivered:
  • Systemic medications Systemic painkillers such as narcotics dull your pain but don't completely eliminate it.
  • You may also be given a tranquilizer – alone or in combination with a narcotic – to reduce anxiety or nausea, or to relax you.

  • Systemic drugs are either delivered through an IV line to your bloodstream or injected into a muscle, and they affect your entire body rather than concentrating pain relief in the uterus and pelvic area.
  • They may make you feel sleepy, but unlike the general anesthesia that's often given for surgery, they won't make you unconscious. Learn more.

  • An epidural delivers continuous pain relief to the lower part of your body while allowing you to remain fully conscious.
  • Medication is delivered through a catheter, a very thin, flexible, hollow tube that's inserted into the space just outside the membrane that surrounds your spine. (This is called the epidural space.)
  • The medication is usually a combination of a local anesthetic and a narcotic.
  • Local anesthetics block sensations of pain, touch, movement, and temperature, and narcotics blunt pain without affecting your ability to move your legs.
  • Used together, they provide good pain relief with less loss of sensation in your legs and at a lower total dose than you'd need with just one or the other. Learn more.

Spinal block
  • A spinal differs from an epidural in two ways: It's delivered directly into the spinal fluid (rather than into the space just outside the membrane that surrounds your spine), and it's a one-time injection rather than a continuous feed through a catheter. As a result, relief is rapid and complete but lasts only a few hours.

  • Your practitioner may order a spinal block if you decide you want pain relief late in labor or if you're progressing so rapidly that delivery is likely to be relatively soon and you can't wait for an epidural.

  • Combined spinal/epidural A combined spinal/epidural block is a newer technique that offers the rapid pain relief of a spinal and the continuous relief of an epidural.

In early labor, this technique can function as a "walking epidural." The medications delivered by the spinal injection tend to cause less muscle weakness in the legs than those in the epidural, so you may be able to continue to feel your legs and move around for the first hour or two.

Source :Baby center...

The Pain medication options varies from hospital to hospital. And it is advisable to talk with your doctor before last visit about the options available in your hospital and how Comfortable the doctor is and Pros and Cons of having the pain medication.

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