Managing Pain During Childbirth

mother and son holding newborn baby

Wireless Fetal Monitoring

We are the only hospital in the state to offer unique wireless fetal monitoring, so that you can move, walk and even use the Jacuzzi without worrying about detaching the wires of a traditional monitor. 

Our wireless monitor has a range of 300 feet, so anywhere you go on the unit, your nursing team can see your baby’s vital information displayed on the screen. The data are secure and available via the internet, so clinicians can access the data remotely and track the progress of your labor.

Managing Pain During Childbirth

Every labor is unique, and every woman chooses to cope with and manage her labor pain differently. There are many pain relief options available to you during your labor in order to make it as comfortable and peaceful an experience as possible. 

Please be aware that your medical needs and the well-being of your baby may affect your options. In many cases, more than one option may be used during the course of a woman’s labor.  Our experienced team can help you to choose the option(s) best suited to you.

Relaxation

We help manage pain through relaxation by using the following techniques:

  • Dim lighting
  • Music
  • Shower/Jacuzzi
  • Controlled breathing
  • Back rub/massage
  • Visualization/focal points

Comfort

We increase your comfort during pregnancy through:

  • Walking
  • Positional changes
  • Birthing ball
  • Rocking chair
  • Counter pressure

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” can be used to help you relax and decrease your perception of labor pain. This method of pain management is self-administered: that means you will hold a mask over your mouth and nose and inhale the gas during your contractions. You decide how much and when to inhale.

You can begin using nitrous oxide within minutes of requesting it, and its effects are felt after just a few breaths through the mask.   Nitrous oxide causes some women to feel dizzy, drowsy, and nauseated; however, the effects of the gas wear off quickly if you remove the mask and take a few breaths of regular air.

Nitrous oxide is considered safe for your baby, as it does not increase the need for neonatal resuscitation or affect your baby’s ability to breastfeed after birth, but very few studies of the long-term effects are currently available.

Intravenous or Intramuscular Narcotic Medications

An injection of a narcotic may be used should you desire short-term, quick-acting medication to mildly reduce the sharp pain of your contractions.  These medications are usually given early in labor, as they will make you and your baby feel sleepy for a short time.  These medications may also make you feel dizzy, light-headed, or nauseated.

Regional Anesthesia

Should you decide to have an epidural during your labor, our anesthesia team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide you with regional anesthesia to improve your comfort. Regional blocks are administered through an injection in your lower back, and will partially or completely numb the lower part of your body, while still allowing you the strength to push when it is time to deliver your baby. 

The medications used in your epidural can be administered without causing sedation to you or your baby; however, they can sometimes cause your blood pressure to drop, which could affect your baby’s well-being. For that reason, your blood pressure will be monitored very closely while you receive epidural anesthesia. Should you have a decrease in your blood pressure, you will receive medication to reverse this effect.

Spinal anesthesia is used for cesarean section.  If you already have an epidural in place prior to cesarean, the anesthesiologist may inject medication through the existing catheter.  If not, the anesthesiologist will inject medication into the spinal sac in a similar fashion to the epidural process.  The medication from the spinal anesthesia may make you feel itchy.

The Noreen Stonor Drexel Birthing Center 24-hour Warm Line is available to all parents who have any questions or concerns regarding newborn care, parenting, or care of self. The Warm Line phone number is 401-845-1110.