Labor Pain

Pain Management for Labor

According to the Listening to Mother's II Survey, 76% of American women use an epidural for pain relief during labor. New Zealand reports a 24% epidural rate, and 45% of Canadian women use epidurals when they give birth. What do the other women do?

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous Oxide is a gas that can be used during labor. It is common in Australia and parts of the United Kingdom. It can be more difficult to find in Canada and is practically unavailable for labor in the United States.

Narcotics

Narcotic Analgesics are injected into a muscle or an IV. They provide for about two hours of relief from strong contractions, but do not completely remove the sensation. 22% of the participants in the Listening to Mother's II Survey used Narcotics during labor.

Tranquilizers

Some women are offered the use of tranquilizers during labor. These medications do not remove pain. Instead they help a mother remain calm or put her to sleep.

Movement

42% of the participants in the Listening to Mother's II survey used position changes and movement during labor, and 75% of them said it was at least somewhat helpful.

Comfort Measures

Comfort measures range from relaxation and breathing techniques to massage, ice packs and labor tubs. The most commonly used technique among the Listening to Mother's II Survey was breathing techniques which were used by 49% of the mothers. 77% of those who used it said it was at least somewhat helpful. Amazingly, 91% of the women who used a pool or tub in labor said it was at least somewhat helpful - the same percentage of users who thought an epidural was at least somewhat helpful. Unfortunately, only 6% of the mothers used a tub or pool during labor.