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One Trillion Storys For Kids

Medicated Pain relief

PAIN RELIEF TYPE

Gas & Air (Entonox)

WHAT HAPPENS

Mixture of Nitrous oxide and oxygen is inhaled through a mouth piece or face mask.

HOW IT WORKS

Provides mild analgesia and relieves tension.

ADVANTAGES

Safe for mom and baby. Mom controls the use. There is no restriction on the mother’s movement. It can be used in a birthing pool. It clears quickly from the system and helps to establish a breathing pattern for each contraction. Can be used in conjunction with other methods of pain relief.

DISADVANTAGES

Can cause nausea.

EFFECTIVENESS

Excellent for taking the edge off the pain, the contractions will still hurt but it assists with coping.

Pethidine or Meptazinol

WHAT HAPPENS

Narcotic drugs that are injected into the buttock or thigh by your caregiver. It will take approximately 20 minutes to have an effect and last up to 3 hours.

HOW IT WORKS

Mood-altering, producing relaxation and drowsiness. Also relieving tension and anxiety, which can prolong labour

ADVANTAGES

Given by the caregiver, so it is readily available.

DISADVANTAGES

Crosses the placenta and can make your baby sleepy, even after birth. Can be serious if given close to delivery. Baby needs to be closely monitored. It may cause nausea and the mother may be confined to bed because of sleepiness. Some women find it hard, as they can feel the contractions but are too sleepy to push.

EFFECTIVENESS

Effective for women who are tense and anxious. Takes the edge off the pain.

Epidural

WHAT HAPPENS

A fine tube inserted by an anesthetist into the base of the spine through which an anaesthetic is introduced. This can either be topped up by the caregiver as required, or given continuously through an infusion pump.

HOW IT WORKS

Numbs the area from the waist down.

ADVANTAGES

Can lower blood pressure if it is very high. Will not affect the baby, unless the blood pressure drops considerably.

DISADVANTAGES

Anaesthetist needs to be available to administer an epidural. Mother must keep still while it is administered which is difficult during contractions. Mother may need to be catheterized. In case blood pressure falls, a drip will be set up. Risk of severe headache if needle accidentally pierces the sheath around the spinal cord.  Movement of the mother is severely or totally restricted. Can slow contractions, so a drip may be used to speed things up. Mother cannot feel contractions, so may need to be told when to push.

EFFECTIVENESS

This is the most effective form of pain relief in 90% of cases. Unfortunately some women only feel the effects of epidural down one side of the body.

Spinal Block

WHAT HAPPENS

An anaesthetist injects an anaesthetic into the fluid around the spinal cord to provide short-lasting but very effective pain relief and then removes the needle.

HOW IT WORKS

Numbs the area from the waist down.

ADVANTAGES

Can lower blood pressure if it is very high. Will not affect the baby, unless the blood pressure drops considerably.

DISADVANTAGES

Anaesthetist needs to be available, and the mother must keep still. Mother usually catheterized, same risk of severe headache as epidural. Movement of mother is completely restricted. Nausea is a common side effect and can take about 5 hours to wear off.

EFFECTIVENESS

Very effective fast pain relief for unplanned caesareans and some instrumental deliveries.

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