Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

Complementary Medicine

Are There Any Epidural Drugs to Relieve Pain During Childbirth?

10/16/2003

Question:

I am 7 months pregnant with my first child. I would rather avoid drugs during delivery if I can. I've taken a lamaze class but don`t have much faith in all of that breathing to really control my pain. What else can I do, other than get an epidural or take other drugs?

Answer:

I am happy to give you some information and education, but that is all I can do, as we do not have a professional relationship. You need to also consult your health professional to learn more. If a woman does not want to use drugs for labor pain, she can consider a combination of nondrug methods that are often taught in Lamaze or childbirth education classes. If breathing was the only technique that was taught in the classes you took, you may want to talk with your health care provider about other options for educating and preparing you for labor. Classes should teach and allow you and your partner to practice relaxation, distraction, massage, music, activity, and positions for labor pain. I think it is important to have a `menu` of activities and to use a variety or a combination of them during labor. Nondrug methods do not take away all the pain, but they can help you cope with pain better. Or, you could ask your doctor about having a doula or nurse midwife work with you before and during your labor to help you actually carry out the kind of birth experience you would like. They may also recommend some books on natural childbirth. Finally, preparation for labor without drugs takes practice. Just as you would practice running in order to run a race, you need to practice the breathing, relaxing and other techniques frequently so that you become skillful at using them before labor begins. My very best wishes as you approach the birth of your first child. 

For more information:

Go to the Complementary Medicine health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Marion   Good, PhD Marion Good, PhD
Professor Emerita of Nursing
Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing
Case Western Reserve University

Tanya I Edwards, MD, MEd Tanya I Edwards, MD, MEd
Formerly, Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University