Childbirth is one of the most joyous occasions and can also be one of the most painful. Some women are able to sooth the pains of labor through breathing exercises or other relaxation techniques. Other new mothers may find the use of pain medications beneficial during their delivery.
Grand Canyon Anesthesiology Consultants are experienced in several techniques to aid both the mother and child through delivery in the most comfortable manner. The two types of medications most used are pain and numbing medicines. Pain medicines are commonly used during labor or after delivery, and includes intravenous and regional routes of delivery.
Intravenous Pain Medicines
Pain control is achieved when medicines are injected into the patient’s muscle or vein, decreasing the sensation of pain over the entire body without the loss of consciousness. These medicines typically go through the placenta and the baby may be affected by them.
Regional Anesthesia is commonly used and is the most effective method to reduce pain during labor with minimal effects for the mother and child. This type of pain relief includes the following methods.
Often referred to as an epidural block, your anesthesiologist will inject certain drugs into your lower back that will cause the loss of feeling in the lower areas of your body, but allow you to still remain conscious and alert. Epidurals can be administered soon after contractions start or further along in the labor process. An epidural may be placed anytime you are ready and not on the basis of how far along your cervix may be. This technique is often coupled with additional medications for cesarean deliveries or when vaginal births require the assistance of vacuum extraction or forceps to deliver the baby.
A spinal block, like an epidural, is injected into your lower back and brings short-term relief. It is usually given for pain relief during delivery or cesarean section, and is usually only used once during the birthing process.
Combined Spinal-Epidural Block
This combination technique utilizes the benefits of both forms of regional pain relief. The spinal block immediately relieves labor pains, while the epidural provides pain relief throughout the labor process.
Local anesthesia provides a temporary loss of sensation only at the particular area where the drug is administered. A local anesthetic may be used when your doctor performs an episiotomy or repairs any vaginal tears that may have occurred during delivery.
General anesthesia is used to induce pain relief over the entire body and puts the patient into an unconscious state. General anesthesia is commonly used when regional anesthesia is not possible or there are other medical reasons that may warrant its use, such as an emergency cesarean delivery or a clotting disorder.
There are many different types of techniques to reduce the pains of labor and delivery. It is important that you consult with your doctor well before your expected delivery to choose which types of pain relief and relaxation methods are best for you and your child. On the day of your delivery, be prepared to be flexible in some of your decisions, feel free to ask any questions, and most importantly, do not worry. We are all here to help you and the newest addition to your family.