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Pain Relief in Labour

These days, you have a wide variety of options from drug-based anesthetics to more traditional methods such as heat and water.

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General Anesthetic

General anesthesia is usually only used in situations where an emergency caeserian section needs to be performed and there isn't time to set up an epidural or spinal block. The advantage of a general anesthetic is that you don't feel any pain as you …

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Spinal Block

A spinal block is administered in the same way as an epidural, via a needle into  the epidural space in your back, but unlike the epidural which can be topped up, the spinal block consists of a single dose of local anesthetic which completely numbs …

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Entonox

Entonox is a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen which is inhaled through a mask or mouthpiece. It is effective almost immediately, and the effects will peak after one minute, so you need to time the use of the gas to coincide with the …

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Heat and Water

Many women find heat and/or water useful for managing pain during labour, particularly during early labour. A wheat bag or hot water bottle applied to your abdomen or lower back can help with the pain of contractions. Conversely some …

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Breathing Techniques

It is well known that breathing techniques (similar to those used in yoga) can help you relax and focus your mind on something other than pain. You will probably find that deep, meditative breathing comes naturally to you in response to …

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Pain relief: TENS machine

TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. It consists of four battery powered electrode pads that send small electrical currents into your back. It releases two types of charge: low frequency charges which cause the release of …

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Pethidine

Pethidine is a sedating analgesic drug and is one of the more commonly used methods of pain relief during labour. It is administered via either an intramuscular or intravenous injection. The major advantage of pethidine is that while it will …

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Epidural

The use of epidural pain relief during labour is becoming more and more prevalent, and it is estimated that epidurals are administered in approximately 25% of all labours in New Zealand. An epidural is a nerve block that goes into the area …

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