Every person and every birth is unique. The same is true of how we experience pain. While we can’t predict how much pain you’ll be in, we can offer you different ways to manage it. There are lots of things you can do to manage the pain on your own.
Labour pain is caused by contractions. This type of pain comes in waves as the uterus contracts to push out your baby. Contractions start gradually, reach a peak, and then slowly subside. Usually you’ll have a few minutes to rest between contractions.
In most cases, labour starts with irregular contractions. Over time, the contractions become more regular with less time between each one. As contractions get stronger, they also become more painful. Just before your baby is born, you’ll feel a strong urge to push. These contractions are usually the most painful. As soon as your baby is born, the contractions stop.
Your body immediately responds to labour pains by producing endorphins, which are natural pain relievers. When this happens, many women turn their focus inward.
All women experience pain differently. Concentrating on your breathing can help relieve some of the pain. Focused breathing can help you relax, which makes it easier to deal with the contractions. Inhale slowly through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth.
As the contractions become stronger and more painful, you may find it harder to relax. When this happens, try different positions until you find one that you feel most comfortable in.
Having someone massage your lower back or legs can help you get through strong contractions. Some women prefer to have someone apply pressure to their lower back during contractions. See what feels best to you.
Heat can help you relax. Make sure the room is comfortably warm. A warm bath or shower can also help you relax and relieve some of your pain.
You can also choose to give birth in a bath. We have plenty of experience with water births. If you’d like more information, feel free to ask during your next appointment.
Pain medication can only be administered in a hospital. As side effects are possible, continuous monitoring of the mother and the baby is necessary. We will accompany you to the hospital to transfer you into the care of the gynaecologist or obstetrician. Ultimately, your pain management will depend on your preferences and how your labour is progressing.
The following types of pain medication are available in this region: epidural, remifentanil, and gas and air.
Before pain medication is administered, an ECG will be done to see how your baby is doing (with the exception of gas and air). It’s important to make sure your baby is doing well, as traces of the medication always end up in your baby’s bloodstream as well.
Gas and air is a form of pain relief. It’s a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide, which is administered via a mask. While it doesn’t take away all pain, it does make it more bearable. Gas and air is completely safe for mother and baby, which means continuous foetal monitoring is not necessary. We can administer gas and air ourselves, which means we don’t have to transfer you to a gynaecologist.