Pain medication options for labor?

I was just curious what options your hospital gives you for pain control? With my first labor I was pretty disappointed with what options they provided, it was essentially either an epidural, or a drug that made me extremely loopy (I can’t remember what it was called)…neither of which would be my first choice. What I’d really like is just something that would take the edge off, without numbing my whole lower body or altering my mental state, but that doesn’t seemed to be offered here

So I was just curious what is offered where you live?

Hypnobirthing. Totally took the edge off. It’s a method of natural birthing though, not a medication.

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I tried that with my first and really wanted it to work, but it just didn’t work for me. TBH I’m not a good subject for hypnotherapy or just straight up being hypnotized either so I’m guessing hypnobirthing probably won’t work well for me either

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Drs can put different types of medications in an epidural. If you didnt like the cocktail that they used last time, maybe your doctor can provide you alternate medications for this time around.

There is also a “windowed epidural” … I understand from friends that have had it for their labors that it numbs certain areas while allowing the person in labor to still retain feeling in other areas to still push.

I know some ppl use laughing gas.

Although it’s not pain medication, a good doula can help you find positions that increase comfort/decrease pain in the earlier stages of labor.

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I know that some hospitals offer some sort of gas. I really have no idea what it is, but I think it’s natural and it’s supposed to help.

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I was welcome to bring a TENS machine in. The hospital didn’t provide them, but I could provide my own and use it. I was going through a birth centre (in hospital) so I don’t know if it would have been different in the main part of the hospital or not. I didn’t end up using one but a lot of people I talked to said it was brilliant for taking the edge off.

Otherwise, gas (which I hated, made me vomit), and I spent a huge amount of time in shower with hot water. Also managed to get in the bath but it stalled labor for me so hopped out. Not medications, but certainly things to try.

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Gas and air
Spinal block
Basic pain meds like paracetamol ( which will do nothing :joy:)

And then other birthing aids
Excersize/birthing ball
Water births/pool
Essential massage oil? May have to bring your own.

They could also offer pethedine? But I hear they don’t really use it now and I have a bad allergy to it.

[name_f]My[/name_f] first I had an epidural

[name_f]My[/name_f] second I only had gas and air and I way preferred just gas and air over an epidural.


I had an epidural with my first, which was fine but I wish I had other pain relief options. Unfortunately I know my hospital doesn’t provide much in the way of pain relief (they just added birthing balls to the rooms this [name_u]January[/name_u] so thats something I guess) but no peanut balls, walking epidurals, gas etc. I think they have a tub but my first came pretty fast so I didn’t have a chance to use it (and it’s only for laboring, which is a pain but understandable) and when I asked about windowed or a walking epidural the nurses had never heard of them…
If I could choose I’d probably do a birthing center, but do to insurance restrictions as well as living in a small community our choices are limited. Luckily overall we had a good birthing experience, and I really have no complaints other than lack of options for pain control.

I was really just curious to see if I had been living in the ‘pregnancy bubble’ and the pain relief options I had heard about were actually rare and few between. But it sounds like my hospital is just really limited.

Are you in the states or UK? I’m assuming the states as you discuss health insurance. I’m in the UK and most hospitals are very similar in terms of birthing expectations, care from midwifery/doctors and general birthing aids. The pain relief options are mostly the same, some smaller midwife led hospitals may only have gas and air for instance, but the larger hospitals in the cities and towns will offer more medicated routes in childbirth.
All in all if I gave birth in Newcastle for example or Dorset (opposite ends of the county) it would no doubt have similiar experiences because the NHS is like an umbrella care.

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I had an epidural with the first two, although it didn’t work well the second time, and by the third time I didn’t want it. I had hoped to manage completely medication free, but I was also alone, and I forgot how to breathe (active labor came on really suddenly and very intense, only 2 hours, then she was out) and I asked for one anyway. But the anesthesiologist was in surgery, so I had to wait. I tried something by IV that worked for a bit early on (I don’t remember what it was called) but a few cm dilated later, the second attempt no longer did anything for me. I tried gas and air but it also did nothing for me and I wound up just holding the mask in my hand instead of to my face :rofl: So not very helpful! So for me, nothing really helped and I feel like next time I’m not even going to bother trying. I’ve seen now that I can do it without and I felt much better afterward than with the other two… I was up and walking and caring for her alone through the night. I walked home from the hospital a decent way… and when I mentioned it to the nurses they said that’s common without the epidural, women heal faster? So since I’m going solo again, I’m hoping to do just as well after, and thinking I won’t get the epidural this time again. We’ll see I guess. [name_m]Just[/name_m] need to remember to breathe this time!

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My first birth was rather dramatic due to pain meds… I had the idea that “natural” was the way to go however as my long labor (50+ hours) intensified Intried to climb the pain med ladder doing as little as possible. It wasn’t pretty I became very edgy and started hallucinating. In the end I ended up with not only an epidural but the accompanying c-section to go along with it.

With my second Inwas most concerned with having a VBAC so to skip the drama I went in asking for a epidural and it made the world of difference for me.

With my third going into my last trimester I had no idea if I was going to try for the epidural first thing then labor hit and hit fast (I walked into the hospital about 7-8cm)… they actually weren’t even sure if I had time for an epidural but I begged and they just made it and it was worth it.

We did also have birthing balls and peanuts etc but I saw that more for labor positioning no where in their use did I feel it helped my pain in any way.

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Yep I’m in the US and hospitals can vary quite a lot depending on what and who is available to them. Epidurals I would assume are pretty universal (unless at a mid wife/ birthing center) but from there it depends on what the hospital can afford (equipment wise) the hospitals protocols and what their staff is trained to do.