Labor Pains: Know Your Options

Labor & Delivery Pain Management

As you continue to come closer to your delivery date, weighing your pain management options should be at the top of your checklist. From non-interventional childbirth to epidurals and spinal injections, there are many pain management options available to make your labor and delivery as comfortable as possible.

Knowing what each entails is essential to helping you to make an informed decision. Here are some of the most common pain-management options.

Non-Interventional or Low-Interventional

For women who are full-term with a low-risk pregnancy, opting for natural childbirth with little to no medication is a viable pain management option. With non-interventional methods, no medication is used while utilizing alternative methods of pain relief. Some non-medication pain management techniques may include:

  • Using a birthing ball
  • Relaxation techniques like deep breathing and music therapy
  • Aromatherapy
  • Massages
  • Taking a warm bath or shower
  • Yoga

On the other hand, low-interventional methods use small amounts of medication that can also be used in tandem with non-medication methods.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous Oxide, commonly referred to as “laughing gas,” is frequently used during labor to ease anxiety. However, it does not actually eliminate pain. This tasteless and odorless gas is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a mask. The mother-to-be holds the mask herself and determines when she will inhale this medication and how much of it she inhales. This medication issafe for both the mother and the baby.


A combined spinal-epidural (CSE), often referred to as an epidural, is the most commonly used form of pain management used during childbirth in the United States. With this medicated pain management technique, an anesthesiologist administers medication through a needle that is inserted into the lower back and into the spinal canal.

The pain relief with this is immediate. An epidural gives a feeling of numbness from the bellybutton down to your upper legs, allowing you to remain conscious and alert throughout your labor and delivery. You are also still able to feel labor pressure, which allows you to push when it’s time to give birth to your baby.

General Anesthesia

General Anesthesia is the only type of pain management option used during labor and delivery that makes you lose consciousness. Typically, this option is used when an emergency c-section is deemed necessary. When general anesthesia is used, you will not be awake during the delivery of your baby.

Obstetrics in Vincennes, IN

At Good Samaritan, we offer comprehensive care for women who are starting or growing a family. Because a mother’s health is critical to the health of her baby and family, your doctor and our highly trained nursing staff will combine the latest technology and treatments with sensitivity and individualized care. To learn more about our women's health services, call us today at 812-885-8500.

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