Posts Tagged ‘pain relief’

Medications for pain relief

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

When it comes to managing labor pain, some expecting moms prefer to deal with the pain of childbirth naturally, using breathing and relaxation techniques. Others decide from the start to use pain medication to help manage labor pain. One option for pain meds during labor is to use narcotics (also called analgesics or opioids).

Narcotics affect the whole nervous system, instead of just one area. They are given through an intravenous (IV) catheter (a small tube that is inserted into a vein) or by injecting the medicine into the butt or thigh muscle. The medication lowers pain and makes it easier to rest.

Narcotics can be given anytime during labor, but work best during early labor when the cervix isn’t fully dilated. Sometimes, you may be able to control your own pain relief by pushing a button that releases a fixed amount of medicine through the IV tube and into your body. Pain relief begins within minutes. You remain conscious throughout labor and into delivery. Pain relief can last between 2 and 6 hours, depending on how it’s given.

As with most things, there are pros and cons to using narcotics.
Pros –
• Narcotics lessen your pain and take effect quickly.
• They help you rest without causing muscle weakness or lowering your ability to push.
• In some cases, you can control how much medication you use during labor.
• Narcotics can be used with other pain medications like an epidural or spinal block.

Cons –
• Narcotics may leave you feeling sleepy.
• They may cause nausea.
• If too much medication is used, it can temporarily slow down breathing for both mom and baby.
• The medication cannot be given right before delivery because it may slow the baby’s breathing and heart rate at birth.

Massage for labor pain relief

Monday, August 19th, 2013

massageThere’s no way of avoiding it ladies, delivering a baby hurts. Aside from the logistics (The baby’s how big? You’re how small?), most of us have a lot of anxiety about it which can add tension to already uncomfortable muscles. Massage can be your friend.

Massage can be particularly helpful in easing pain during labor. It’s calming, encourages relaxation and soothes aching, tense muscles. You can do some massages yourself by gently rubbing your belly during contractions. You can also have your partner or labor coach give you a massage to stimulate your body’s natural release of pain relief. Massages can help soothe your muscles and block pain. Some women find that using counter-pressure (having a partner push hard on a tense muscle) on an area like the lower back can relieve tension for a good amount of time. Using a tennis ball to roll over and into a tight muscle or a particularly uncomfortable spot can feel heavenly to some women. (Don’t forget to pack one in your hospital bag!)

Some women find light massage irritating and want deep pressure, while others find light massaging of the scalp, fingers or toes an incredible distraction to the deep contractions going on within.

It’s a really good idea to practice different techniques with your partner or labor coach long before labor is at hand. Get to know what you like and dislike and make sure your partner has mastered the techniques. And don’t be surprised if you change your mind when the day finally arrives. Be flexible and go with the flow.

Try these helpful tips as you and your partner learn to use massage:
   • Warming the muscle with a hot towel or heating pad can help relax the tension
   • Using oil or lotion can help your hands to move across the skin more smoothly
   • Keeping one hand on the area as you reach for more oil or lotion can keep you feeling relaxed and in the moment.

What causes back labor?

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

back painAsked about back labor, Dr. Siobhan Dolan answers the question in her new March of Dimes book, Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby.

“Babies are usually face-down (looking toward the mother’s spine) as they move into the pelvis. But sometimes a baby is face-up (looking toward the mother’s belly) instead. This can cause intense back pain during labor and is called back labor. If you’re having back labor, your provider may try to rotate your baby by having you change positions, although that doesn’t always work. Sometimes babies rotate (either in response to a mother’s changed position or on their own), and sometimes unrotated babies are delivered face-up.”

Dr. Dolan’s book includes a section on coping with pain through relaxation techniques and with pain medications. It’s good to know about both options. You can read more about the book at this link.

Pregnancy chat on headaches

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

headacheDo you suffer from head bangers? Were they worse or better during pregnancy? Some women find they get worse while others enjoy a reprieve. Some women may have migraine headaches for the 1st time in early pregnancy – often severe, throbbing pain on one side of head. What causes this?

Find out about triggers, what meds are safe and what should be avoided, what are some non-medical suggestions for relief.

Join us on Twitter Wednesday April 17th at 1 PM ET for our next pregnancy chat. Get some tips or share with your fellow sufferers what worked best for you. Be sure to use #pregnancychat to join in the conversation.