Managing pain

The intensity of pain during labour and birth can be managed with both pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods. For many women, your pain can be managed with non-pharmacological methods such as active birth practices, labouring in water and relaxation techniques to help you trust that your body knows what to do.

It is a good idea to speak to your care provider about what pain relief options are available to you and become well informed about the different ways you can manage pain during your labour. It is also important that your partner or support person knows about the different options available and what your feelings towards them are so they can support you and advocate for you when the time comes.

Non-pharmacological pain management

Non-pharmacological methods of pain relief may include;

  • Active birth techniques
  • Massage and heat packs
  • Water immersion
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Meditation
  • Acupuncture
  • TENS machine
  • Sterile water injections

For more information;

Pregnancy Birth & Baby – Non-medical pain relief during labour 

Pregnancy Birth & Baby – TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)

Royal Women’s Hospital – Active-birth

Pharmacological pain management

Pharmacological methods of pain relief during labour include;

  • Nitrous oxide (gas)
  • Pethidine
  • Epidural anaesthesia

For more information;

Better Health Channel – Childbirth – pain relief options

Pregnancy Birth & Beyond – Pethidine for Pain Relief in Labour

Pregnancy Birth & Beyond – Nitrous Oxide for Pain Relief in Labour

The Royal Women’s Hospital – Epidural information