Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Labour Pains and Their Management

During the Gynae's talk at the antenatal class that I attended on last Saturday, one of the topics that I very much looked forward to hear was about labour and its pain management. Although the Gynae said that some pregnant mothers in the function room still have few or a couple more months to go to seriously think about childbirth, it does not hurt to have some rough idea or knowledge about labour pains and consider the available options of labour pain relief now.

The Gynae is a mother herself and during her session, she described how painful labour pains could be for women and many women in labour usually would not be able to think well when coping with the excruciating pains during labour. Hence, it is important for husband and medical professionals to assist the mother in going through labour pains when the time comes. When the mother screams for pain relief, ideally her Gynae or nurse should be able to comply with her wishes to ease her pains and ensure easier delivery process that is safe for both baby and mother.

Based on the information that I gathered during this particular talk, there are few pain management choices that mothers can request during labour as follows:

  1. Pethidine - Pethidine is a painkilling drug that gives 30% pain reduction and sedative effect during labour. The drawback of pethidine is the drowsiness effect on both mother and baby after the drug is administered to the mother's body. The labour pains would not be entirely gone even though the mother has been given this pain killer but at least the mother would be able to sleep for 2-4 hours when struggling with her long and tiring labour.
  2. Entonox or laughing gas is a gas or air that the mother could breathe in to reduce the labour pains. It gives 50% pain relief and is proven quite safe if performed correctly. The Gynae said that this gas should be inhaled for 80 seconds whenever the pains come and exhale (or stop inhaling) the gas when there is no contraction. This way, there is actually no medications entering the mother's system and all the side effects of this drug on her body will stop too.
  3. Epidural gives 99.9% pain relief during labour but the mother may require local anaesthetic for this procedure. See more information about the cost of epidural in a private hospital in Seremban here.
  4. Alternative pain reliefs - I am not sure about the detailed choices of the available alternative labour pain management in Malaysia other than the afore-mentioned options as the Gynae did not really elaborate on this topic during her talk. However, reading this site to get more information about alternative ways in managing labour distress and pains may be useful.

Moreover, the Gynae explained that complete cervical dilatation is 10cm and normally, cervical dilatation is 1cm per hour. This said, if a mother is 1cm dilated that means she still has 9 more hours to go to finally deliver her baby. Dilating processes can be faster than the above example as childbirth differs from mother to mother. However, failure to progress on cervical dilation during baby delivery may lead to caesarian section. Also, if not necessary, the Gynae sincerely hoped expectant parents not to medically induce labour as induction often puts the baby inside the uterus in so much distress. All in all, the Gynae advised expectant mothers to be mentally ready for labour and always remember that labour pains are "pains with a purpose"! 

Finally, for best advice and further reference, we need to directly discuss labour issues and pain relief options with our health care provider or Gynae before we give birth. In the meantime, let's make sure that the baby kicks regularly every single day until he or she is ready to see this world.

Good luck to all of us, Moms-to-be!

1 comment:

  1. labour pain relief doesn't have to be with drugs and needles. There are so many other ways to reduce pain during labour naturally!

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