The Pros and Cons of Pain Management during Delivery

When it comes to delivering a baby, every woman says that she can do it “naturally.” But, when the pain of those contractions begins, some change their mind. Just in case you change your mind, know the options and the risk of pain management.

It used to be that you had to endure the pain of the contractions during the delivery. Screaming was your only option or chewing on a piece of leather. Now, you can opt for less pain and more enjoyment of the experience if you wish. And, it doesn’t diminish you as a woman in any way.

What is an Epidural?

The most common form of medication given during pregnancy is an epidural. It consists of a mixture of narcotics and anesthetics of manage the pain and discomfort of contractions. Anxiety levels can rise so high that it can affect the progress of labor and your focus.

The medication is infused through a catheter placed in the epidural space between the second and fifth lumbar vertebrae. The nurse or physician will ask you at a certain point during labor if you want to consider using any medication. It takes about 20 minutes for the medication to take effect and with the catheter more can be infused if needed.

Other forms of Pain Management

Spinal block – Medication much like that used in an epidural makes up a spinal block. The medication is injected directly into the spinal column. It can last for up to two hours and numbs your body from the chest down.

Pudendal block – Medication is injected into the area between the vagina and the anus. It helps reduce pain during the actual delivery whether with forceps or a vacuum. If you have an episiotomy, this type of block can help with pain management for at least the first hour.

Pros of Pain Medication

Pain medication can be helpful in certain situations. Here are a few:

Medication reduces pain and contractions can be stronger in some women than in others.
Mom gets to rest during a long labor when things are progressing slowly
Medication lasts a long time so that
Amount given can be controlled through the catheter
Mom stays awake during a c-section


There are risks to all medication. Ask the doctor to explain it all to you clearly before making a choice. Here are a few things you need to know.

Rare side effects include severe headaches from spinal fluid leaks
Baby needs to be monitored since you usually can’t feel contractions
Epidural doesn’t work immediately and you can move involuntarily when a contraction hits
May need to be told when to push when the time comes
Medication of this type can lower your blood pressure and your baby’s

Pain management is important during pregnancy. If you want to use medication, know the pros and cons.

Learn more about your health online when you read the rest of our information here about: Pregnancy

We wish you well in your search for healthy diet solutions and your movement towards better health in all areas.

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