Induction/Pain Relief In Labour

Dec 24, 2010 No Comments by

Sometimes labour has to be induced because of a problem of a problem  such as pre-eclampsia, bleeding, diabetes, or being well past you due date. Induction techniques include:

Pessaries.
Prostaglandins are naturally occurring hormones which help dilate the cervix. A synthetic form of prostaglandin, either in a pessary or gel, is applied internally to the cervix to soften and thin it. It may require two or three  treatments before labour starts.

Artificial Rupture Of The Membranes (ARM).
This involves the puncturing of the membranes of the amniotic sac. Once ruptured, prostaglandins from the amniotic fluid are released and labour follows.
Syntocinon Drip.
This is a concentrated synthetic form of oxytocin, a natural hormone that makes the uterus  contract. Given through an intravenous drip, it acts quickly and produces contractions which may be stronger than those of  natural labour. Some hospitals offer an epidural with this form of induction.
Pain Relief .
If you decide to have a completely natural birth make sure that this is marked clearly on your birth plan and inform the medical staff who will be attending you during labour. Remember that you can always change your mind if you find coping with the pain too difficult. If you have decided to opt for some form of pain relief, there are a number of  options you can choose from:
  • Gas And Air (Entonox). A mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide which is  breathed in through a mask or mouthpiece and takes the edge off pain. This is the most controllable form of pain relief because you hold the mask or mouthpiece and regulate the gas and air intake. The gas is processed in your lungs so it doesn’t affect the baby.

  • Injections. Drugs like pethidine and meptid can be given during the first stage of labour.  They will help you relax and relieve pain but they can make your baby sleepy at birth and afterwards.

  • Epidural. A local anaesthetic is injected into the space between your spinal column and the spinal cord, numbing the nerves that serve the uterus. An epidural may also be used if a cesarean delivery is performed because it allows the mother to stay awake while her baby is being delivered. An anaesthetic is needed to give an epidural injection, which takes around 30 minutes to set up ,and then usually requires topping up every hour and a half.

  • Transcultaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation(TENS): This is a technique which involves a weak electric current being used to block pain sensation in the brain and to stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkilling hormones. TENS is not available at all hospitals  so you may need to hire a machine before you go into labour. Your midwife  should be able to give you all necessary details.

  • Alternative Pain Relief. Both acupuncture and hypnosis can be used to relieve pain during child birth, but if you are having a hospital birth you will need permission to have a private practitioner with you during labour. Used correctly, massage, aromatherapy,and reflexology can all help to ease labour. You should get some expert advise before the birth if you intend to use any of these techniques.


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