Pain Relief

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					Pain Relief
Everybody’s labour is different and women labour differently
   within each pregnancy.
It is difficult to predict beforehand what & how much (if any)
   pain relief will be needed before the women goes into labour.
It is therefore important that both she, her birth partner & the
   midwife spend time discussing the various options available.
Birth plans should always have written down what (if any) pain
   relief the woman wishes to have BUT always remember she
   could change her mind and have everything OR nothing
Some expectant mothers wish to labour with very little help or
   intervention whilst others are happy to have everything going.
All the evidence available states that if a women is relaxed and
   active, is well supported (partner or good midwife) then her
   labour will progress more easily since tension causes greater

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Pain Relief Options

A wide variety is available but they generally fall into
   2 categories
1. Those that use drugs
2. Those that are drug free

There are a number of advantages & disadvantages
  that need to be considered.
Some drugs will affect either the labour, the mother
  or the baby in either a positive or negative way

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This is an opiate drug that is given by injection into the
  thigh. It makes the mother feel sleepy and possibly
  relaxed. It does not take away the pain
 It can be given quickly & easily by the midwife but takes
  20mins to take affect
 It is more useful in early labour to allow mother to rest
  or sleep
 Crosses the placenta to baby & if given close to birth
  will cause baby to be born sleepy > breathing & feeding
 Mother can feel sick, disorientated & out of control
 Does not take away the pain
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• Epidurals numb the body from the waist down.
• An anaesthetist gives a liquid anaesthetic
  through a tube directly via a needle into the
  mother’s spine at waist level.
• It makes her completely numb from the waist
  down so she cannot feel the contractions.
• An electronic monitor is used to check on the
  baby’s heart rate throughout.
• Epidurals take 45 minutes to set up and take
• Once in place and working the mother should
  not feel any pain
• Disadvantages are that the mother needs to
  remain on the bed, can have a longer labour &
  that the baby may be born via a forcep or
  ventouse delivery
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      Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation

TENs machines pass a small electrical current through pads
  attached to the Mother’s lower back.

It interferes with the pain messages in the body and triggers the
   release of endorphins which are the body’s own natural

It works well against mild pain.

It has no known side affects on the baby

It is self administered by the mother
She normally has to rent units

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Entonox - Gas & Air

Gas & Air works quickly. It is a mixture of nitrous
  oxide and oxygen and is inhaled via a mouthpiece
  or tube

It takes away some of the pain.
(Acts as a distraction)
It wears off quickly.

It makes the mother feel light-headed, sometimes
  a little sick but it doesn’t effect the baby.

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Breathing exercises are taught at antenatal classes.

This involves taking a deep breath in and breathing
out very gently and slowly.

The idea is to be able to meditate through the pain.

Some women use alternative medicines e.g
acupuncture, reflexology or homeopathy

Massage has also been found to be beneficial

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Water Birth

Mother is in a special pool either provided by the
  hospital or hired by the parents. It is filled with
  warm water & kept at a constant temperature
The baby can be born in the water as it continues to
  breathe via the placenta for a short period of time
Advantages – mother relaxed, feels light(gravity),
  encourages release of endorphins

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