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Managing Labor Pain Without Medication

There are many ways to manage pain during labor. It can often be done with no anesthesia or strong pain medications. Talk to your health care provider about any options you would like to explore.


Help from RelaxationHusband timing wife's labor pains with stopwatch.

Some of these are learned in special classes. Your health care provider can help you find classes. The hospital or birth center may have a tub or shower you can use during early labor. These methods may be of help to you:

  • Breathing techniques

  • A warm tub or shower between contractions

  • Massage and therapeutic touch by your support person or labor coach

  • Reading materials that are comforting or inspiring

  • Music that is soothing

  • Hypnosis

  • Acupuncture and acupressure

  • Heat and cold application

If You Need Medication

You may plan to use little or no medication. But you may change your mind during labor. You can ask for medication at any time if you need it. The two types of pain relieving drugs are analgesics and anethetics. Your health care provider will talk with you about any risks that medication may have.





Help From Analgesics

Analgesics are mild medications that reduce pain. They can be used along with some relaxation methods. They can give you pain relief without total loss of feeling. They may lessen the pain of strong contractions. You may feel well enough to nap between contractions. They have little effect on your baby if given early in labor. This may be done by injection or by IV.

Help From Anesthetics

Anesthesia involves blockage of all feeling including pain. It can be given in the form of local anesthesia or general anesthesia.


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