What are Narcotic Analgesics?
Narcotic analgesics are systemic medications that mimic your body's own endorphin (pain relieving substance). The medication is injected by needle into the mothers thigh, or it is administered through her IV fluids.
There are a variety of medications that are used this way in labor. They fall into the categories of tranquilizers, sedatives and narcotics.
How effective are Narcotic Analgesics?
When administered directly into the blood through an IV, the relief from an analgesic is almost immediate.
Systemic medications works by blocking the pain receptors in your brain. Depending on the strength of the medication given, the pain may be numbed or it may seem to completely go away.
Why choose Narcotic Analgesics?
Systemic medications do not need to be injected into the back.
Systemic medications encourage relaxation, can reduce tension and anxiety.
May be able to combine tranquilizers and narcotics to allow for lower doses of medication to be used.
The effects of the medication will wear off in one to two hours, allowing the mother to continue laboring on her own.
Narcotic analgesics do not cause the immobility associated with regional blocks.
Risks of using Narcotic Analgesics
The specific risks of medications will vary depending on the medication used.
Administration of systemic medication may require IV fluids.
Systemic medications can slow labor causing a need for pitocin.
Narcotic Analgesics can cause itchiness all over the mother's body.
Systemic medications require the use of fetal monitoring, which decreases the mother's mobility.
As with any medication, there is a possibility that it will not be effective.
Risks for Baby
Increased risk for fetal distress.
Increased risk respiratory depression.
Possible lack of responsiveness for up to one week.
For more information about narcotic for labor
Robbie Davis-Floyd discusses the research about analgesia and how this research has been or not been used in determining obstetric practice.