There are many options available for women during their birthing experience.
Your own beliefs and expectations about labour and delivery will play a key role in helping you decide which options will work best for you. You may want to learn more about support options through prenatal classes and reading.
You are encouraged to discuss your hopes and plans for labour with your health care team - doctor, midwife, nurse - and your support team.
Support persons are welcome. Your support partner can provide emotional support and encouragement. A nurse will be present to assist in managing your labour, offer comfort measures and provide information.
Coping with labour
- Breathing methods, relaxation exercises and massage can be helpful during your birth experience. Practice with your partner before you come to the hospital.
- Movement (walking) and position changes are important. The use of a birthing ball and rocking chair can be helpful and are available for you to use.
- Hot and cold packs can be very soothing and you may wish to bring your own.
- Therapeutic touch and massage can be very comforting. Try to practice these before you come to the hospital. You may wish to bring your own massage tools with you. There are some tools at the hospital available for you to use.
Pain medications such as Demerol can be given by needle to help you relax and provide pain relief. These drugs are only given after discussion with the physician because they may cause sleepiness in the baby.
Epidural anesthesia is a medication given through the epidural space outside the spinal cord. It is an effective way to manage the pain of labour. The epidural is put in by an anesthesiologist. After your epidural is started you will not be out of bed, however you will still be able to push when the time comes to deliver your baby. Information about epidurals is available from your nurse, doctor, or prenatal teacher. Local anesthetics may be given by your physician into the vaginal or perineal area. These can be helpful for some forcep deliveries and for the repair of a tear or an episiotomy.