What pain relief to use in labour?(35 Posts)
I'm probably jumping the ball on this one as I'm only 24 weeks pregnant with DD, but this is my first birth (I'm 19) and the thought of it is making me anxious and I just wanted to know people's experiences using any type of pain relief and what they'd recommend? Obviously everyone is different, but I just wanted to know people's experiences and opinions on any forms of pain relief.
Also, if anyone had a water birth, then would you mind letting me know if it made it easier or worked as a pain relief?
Out of interest, does anyone know how easy/difficult it is to get an epidural once you're in hospital?
I had a failed epidural with dd1 and gas with dd2. The gas was fine and i wish I'd just had that with dd1 but there is sort of a way to use the gas which I wasnt shown with dd1.
I'd also look at hypnobirthing which helped me with contractions and how to visualise getting through them.
It's OK to be anxious, I was with dd2 but I knew it would be worth it. Dd1 I was ridiculously fucking clueless
We all understand why its making you anxious! No jumping the ball here!
My advice would be don't be polite about pain with your midwife, scream and shout until they give you what you need. Working in the NHS shouldn't be like this, but often the ones with most "personality" that get the service.
Had water birth yes ok I suppose for pain relief.
Had epidural, was lucky it was "quiet time" so got quickly when I wanted. And without a doubt this was the birth of preference.
Scream and shout best advice I can give.
Ds I was induced but had gas and air (loved it - they had to wheel in a second tank ), tens (rubbish) and an epidural which really, really helped. The epidural filled me with fear pre-birth---- as I had a fear of needles but I was so glad to have
begged for it in labour. With DD epidural failed but the gas and air was awesome - was also a quick 2nd birth.
I had diamorphine, took the edge off and made me sleepy. I seriously regretted not having an epidural. By the time I asked for it, i was too dilated. Even if I wasn't, I don't think I would have been able to stay still long enough for the bloody thing to be put in. I was induced though which is more painful for some women.
I managed to do it on 2 paracetamol had a water birth and the warmth was really brilliant. Tried the gas and air and absolutely hated it- could still feel all the pain and just felt drunk (don't drink heavily as I don't like that out-of-control drunk feeling!).
One thing my sister told me when I was worried about the aftermath of being stitched etc, was that you won't have a clue what's going on as you have a gorgeous baby on your chest. NOT TRUE if you do it drug free!! She had an epidural, so yes, was blissfully unaware. I felt every bloody polke and prod and I had a graze up the front, on the inside of my labia, which they insisted on throwing a stitch in ( bloody thing didnt heal until the stitch fell out anyway) and having the local for that was very stingy (not quite as bad as crowning, but not far off!). Sorry, not trying to scare you, but just be aware that if you do the labour drug free/on G&A, you have to deal with the after bit the same way.
I had a bit of gas and air each time for strong contractions but for the pushing stage went without. Both times I've needed stitches (my babies come with ginormous heads) and have used gas and air for that.
Not everyone has a lot of pain. I think there's an element of weird martyrdom/one upmanship with labour.
I didn't have a water birth but did have a bath while in labour which helped a lot. But until it became clear I needed a c-section nothing. I did breathing and muscle relaxation techniques but I didn't have a full vaginal birth experience so can't speak on that.
Had an epidural for the section which was completely effective if a little odd feeling (no pain but could still feel what was happening)
Talk it over with your midwife, don't dwell on any doom mongering (real or fictitious tv and film always make it seem as if it's ALWAYS fast and very painful) and good luck with the pregnancy and birth. I'm sure it'll all go fine.
I don't think you'll really know what you want until it happens. I have a high pain threshold usually but when it came to labour my hypnobirthing wasn't quite cutting it so I went for 1: gas and air (made me sick) 2:diamorphine (amazing) and finally an epidural ( amazing). Before labour I was adamant I wouldn't get an epidural and was terrified of the thought of the needle in my back but when it came to it I wasn't bothered at all. Good luck!
I didn't find out I was pregnant until I was 29 weeks and had DD at 36+2 so didn't even have time to write an actual birth plan. Instead I told my DP and DM what I wanted so someone knew.
Honestly, you can't really 'plan' as you have no idea how you will be during labour. The best thing you can do is go in with an open mind, take each contraction as it comes and have what you need when you need it.
I wanted a water birth as my primary pain relief, didn't get that due to premie, didn't want to stay in a bed, again high risk due to dates so was strapped to a monitor. The one thing I always said I would rather not have if possible was an epidural due to increased risk of instrumental and cesarean deliveries.
I ended up using gas and air, which I hated, and diamorphine, which took the edge off and made me sleepy. I know I had a somewhat easy labour, went to the hospital at 8am and was already 7cm, and there was only 1 contraction I considered an epidural but I wouldn't of been able to even sit still long enough for it as DD was back to back so each contraction was felt in my back.
Don't limit your options before you even get in there. You might need nothing but paracetamol or everything up to an epidural. But putting pressure on yourself before hand could lead to disappointment.
I had gas & air (hated it, i was the same as pp, just felt drunk & out of control), used birthing pool (effective up to a point when contractions got too strong) and finally diamorphine (very effective!!)
The only thing was that diamorphine can slow things down so I'd say that it put my contractions back about 4 hours. Plus you can't stay in the water when you've had it.
I would just go straight from birthing pool to epidural the next time!
I was in labour three days and in an incredible amount of pain. The epidural was amazing! After i had it put in i felt hardy anything and could still move my legs about for several hours (however my labour went on so long that i had so many top ups i eventually couldnt move my legs) But i strangely could feel enough down there to push properly at the pushing stage and was able to deliver naturally. It wasnt pain i could feel just enough sensation to know where to push etc
I wish id had the epidural put in straight away. They tried other pain relief with me and it all had a really bad effect. The Diomorphine made me incredibly sick to the point i had to have a drip put in because i was throwing up all my fluids, i would never have that again, and it did nothing for the pain just made me feel too woozy to scream. The gas and air i also hated as it made me really paranoid, anxious and disoriented (coupled with the lack of sleep).
Music also really helped me which i wouldve thought was bullshit before id actually been thru it!! I hadnt even brought any cds because i didnt think it would help but the midwife found me a relaxation cd and my husband played some music on his phone as well and actually it helped me the most out of anything apart from the epidural!
Hypnobirthing - brilliant
TENS - great once contractions got going and I used it properly in rhythm.
Birthing pool - amazing pain relief sensation when I got in, but wore off a little
G&A - again only any good if you get the rhythm right but it was brilliant
TENS you need to get the buzz gong during contractions and then stop it in between. If you keep forgetting to turn it off like I did it becomes useless. Also G&A best to take a deep breath just before a contraction I found.
Also had G&A for the stitches (only 2) after.
I've had four vaginal births, the last three I had no pain relief because of the disaster that my first was. In my first labour I was bullied into diamorphine which made me vomit repeatedly (they gave me an injection to stop it but it didn't completely). I also felt completely out of control and basically shit myself because I had diarrhoea and when I tried to go to the bathroom I fell over and couldn't get back up because I was so stoned!
I personally didn't feel any pain relief from the pool, and it too, made me vomit. As did gas and air!
I'm no hero, but I far preferred the intervention free labours, and actually enjoyed my last one.
oddly disappointed that I'll never get to experience it again. Once I knew what to expect it was much easier to cope, although I realise not everyone feels the same. I have a terrible irrational fear of catheterisation which is why I made my husband promise that even if I begged for an epidural (which I think I did with my first), that he wouldn't let me consider it. I was lucky that I didn't have to.
My advice, honestly, would be to obviously do what you feel is right for you, but each time you feel you need something, ask yourself if you could last another 15 minutes without. I only say that because once you've had an injection or epidural, they're pretty much irreversible, and 15 minutes might be all you need to get past that particular hard part.
This post has turned into a bit of a ramble, sorry, and I truly hope it doesn't come across in any way judgemental, because I don't judge any woman for her childbirth choices. Good luck.
I managed on paracetamol and two puffs of g&a but I wouldn't recommended it! Fucking awful but I was refused anything else by sadistic medical staff, they kept saying there wasn't time, but it turned out there was plenty of time (4 hrs of pushing actually). I'll never have another but if I did I'd scream the walls down for pain relief.
I had G&A and an epidural with DS1 (awful experience) and nothing with DS2 (much better).
My second birth was more complicated but I coped so much better and didn't need pain relief due to all the prep and reading I did during pregnancy.
I would hugely recommend you read the Hypnobirthing book (Marie Mongan) (take note of the visualisations!), Grantly Dick Read's book Childbirth Without Fear and most of all, Juju Sundin's book Birth Skills! Convince yourself that your body is designed for this, and teach yourself the skills to get through it. Good luck
It depends on the birth. I had a long labour with DC1, and my epidural was blissful! But much shorter labours with DC2 and DC3 so I was ok with just gas and air.
Good luck OP!
I really recommend hypnobirthing techniques to help through labour, actually helped during pregnancy too! You can go on courses but expensive I found so I read a book, you can get audio books too which could be good to have things playing whilst in labour. I also did pregnancy yoga, the midwives actually commented during labour oh do you do yoga 😂.
I also used gas. I was anxious about labour too. Yes it's scary but your body will tell you what to do, it's amazing. You've got this!! Good luck x
First labour- gas and air in the pool. Pool didn't help with the pain at all but I did like being able to float around in any position I chose.
2nd labour - remifentanol in the delivery suite. Not all hospitals offer it, but it was the absolute business. Contractions went from unbearable to totally bearable.
Don't rely on getting an epidural, depending on when you get to hospital and availability of a doc you may be unlucky, and I know a couple who had it but it didn't work properly
Something that I did not understand about pain relief when I was pregnant is that you can have ALL of it.
When people talked about gas and air, Meptid, an epidural etc. I thought you had to basically pick one and stick with it. Imagine how delighted I was when in labour it turned out that you could have it all!
This meant that I missed out on educating myself a bit though, because I knew I wanted an epidural so I did not bother learning what the others entailed, so I felt a bit silly.
The other thing is that you can't really plan ahead. Go into it accepting that nobody can plan out your labour for you, you need an open mind and trust.
And lots of pain relief.
(For dd2 it all went too fast for any pain relief at all and it was fine.)
Gas and air does sod all, you're still hurting but because you sound tipsy no one believes you.
Just make sure that you ask for the next thing if whatever you're using isn't working and remember it takes time to get an epidural sorted.
I'm 21 weeks with my first and I'm already thinking a lot about this!
I don't want an epidural though because I have an irrational fear that something will go wrong and I'll never feel my legs again
I take it there is an appointment coming up in which birthing plans/pain relief are discussed?
A water birth if you can have one and training yourself to relax your body, it's really hard to stay relaxed (a bit like not shivering when you're cold iyswim). Remembering to stay relaxed and let it happen is the best advice I can give. With dc1 I had pethidine, which made me vomit every few minutes for the rest of the birth and I also had an epidural and hated the helplessness of not being able to move or push. With dcs 2 & 3 I didn't have anything and found it a much better experience.
Don't worry about being nervous everyone is! Cannot recommend hypnobirthing enough. I am a proper wuss and it helped me through 3 labour (two on gas and air and tens, one on nothing).
The two main things it taught me were to breathe through the contractions. They last about a minute so I was taught to count to ten in groups of six (to make 60 seconds). The worst bit is mid point (so 30 seconds), so you know once you get to 20 you're nearly half way and at 30 it's just going to get easier. It was brilliant and very distracting counting! In between contractions there is no pain at all.
Secondly, I was taught to accept the pain, it is a useful pain that is needed to help you birth. Don't hide from it or fight it. Your body knows what it is doing (normally!)
The last bit of advice I would give is that no matter what that 'normally' bit can go array, and if things go off plan as long as you and your baby are healthy nothing else really matters.
Gas and air once my waters were broken and the contractions got really strong. Went in the pool but apart from general relief (warmth and feeling a bit lighter) it didn't make the contractions less painful. Pushing stage without gas and air. Probably would have accepted pethidine by then but it was too late.
Join the discussion
Please login first.