What You Should Know About Labor Analgesia

Currently, many pregnant women make a birth plan in order to find the ideal way to relieve the pain felt by bringing a baby into the world. In this article, learn all about labor analgesia.
What You Should Know About Labor Analgesia

Last update: 04 June, 2019

For a woman, giving birth is probably one of the best moments she’ll ever experience in life. However, giving birth is naturally characterized by an intense pain that takes away some of its charm. Labor analgesia helps prevent the future mother from having to endure unnecessary suffering.

During pregnancy, there’s talk of labor analgesia and how it can occur naturally. Relaxation and concentration techniques are helpful and safe for a woman who’s about to go into labor.

The pain a woman feels when she goes into labor is linked to uterine contractions and the frequent changes in the distendable structures of the birth canal. This is why they’re so strong and continuous.

In the first stage of labor, the pain is localized in the abdominal area and lower back. As time passes, the pain localizes in the umbilical region, upper back, and sacral area. In the last stage of labor, the woman feels pressure on her sacrum, anus, and perineum.

Labor analgesia techniques are, at present, the perfect alternatives to relieve terrible birthing pain. Births in which no medication is administered to relieve the pain are now a thing of the past.

Thanks to scientific and technological advances, even women who are allergic to these painkillers can give birth without pain. Discover the main labor analgesia techniques below.

Techniques for labor analgesia

To choose the best labor analgesia technique, the doctor must analyze the patient fully. They have to assess their medical and family history, as well as other issues related to the moment of birth and the obstetrician’s experience.

What You Should Know About Labor Analgesia

The ideal analgesia is the one that successfully relieves pain without interfering with the labor, that doesn’t cause any side effects on either the future mother or baby, and is easy to control. Several types of painkillers meet these requirements:

Systemic analgesics

These drugs are injected in a vein or into a muscle. They act on the nervous system and help relieve pain.

Some women feel relaxed and calm with these drugs, helping them have a less painful delivery. Although this technique can make both mother and baby sleepy, it doesn’t delay or affect labor or contractions.


It causes a loss of sensitivity in the lower half of the body. This is accomplished by injecting the mother in the lower back.

This type of analgesia helps lessen the pain of contractions and eases vaginal delivery. Epidural analgesia is the safest way to relieve pain during childbirth.

Many women choose it because it doesn’t cause any sedative effect on the mother or baby, and doesn’t make it more likely that the mother will need a Caesarean.

“The instant of birth is exquisite. Pain and joy are one at this moment.”

–Madeline Tiger–

Pudendal block: Local anesthesia

It’s a local anesthetic that’s injected into the vagina and rectal areas just before the baby is born. Pudendal block relieves pain as the baby passes through the birth canal.

The problem with this anesthesia is that, usually, multiple doses have to be administered for the mother to feel real relief. Also, it’s possible for the drug to enter the bloodstream and placenta and, due to its toxicity, cause blood clots.

What You Should Know About Labor Analgesia

Fortunately, there are many other excellent pain relief options for childbirth. If you make the decision to have a completely natural vaginal delivery, the best way to prepare for that moment is by practicing relaxation and breathing techniques.

The reality is that childbirth is surprising and, although the woman has planned a completely natural birth, she may ask for a drug to relieve her pain when she goes into labor. Others, however, decide to use a painkiller from the beginning but come to the hospital right when the baby is about to be born and it’s too late to administer it.

Since any woman can find herself in similar situations, the first thing to do when your delivery date is right around the corner is to think about your health as well as your baby’s.

It’s best to talk to your doctor about the available labor analgesia techniques. This way, when the time comes, you’ll be prepared.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.