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Pregnancy & ChildbirthWellness & PreventionTreatment & Care

Managing Your Pain

When you are admitted to the hospital, you need to decide your goal for pain control. Your nurse will ask you to rate your pain level on a scale of 0 to 10 so that she can more effectively manage your pain.

Just as each person is different, so is each person's response to pain.

Our goal is to help you reach a tolerable level of pain control. Even with pain medicine, you CAN expect to have some pain during the labor process and recovery.

Options for Pain Management

Woman's offers many ways for moms in labor to remain as comfortable as possible, from natural methods to medication.

Comfort Measures

Tell your nurse when your pain level is higher than your goal, and she will work with you to manage your discomfort. Remember that medication is only one part of pain control. Pain can also be relieved by:

  • Changing position
  • Massage
  • Having your support person put a cool or warm cloth on your forehead
  • Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing
  • Daydreaming about pleasant things (visual imagery)
  • Focusing on a color, picture, or photo
  • Listening to music
  • Watching relaxation videos

Pain Medications

Pain medication can be a powerful tool in making the labor and delivery process more comfortable. 

Types of Pain Medication Include:

  • Sedatives
  • Pain relievers (analgesics)
  • Regional and local anesthesia (epidural, perineal injection, pudendal block, spinal block)
  • General anesthesia (not routinely used in labor and delivery)

All of these pain medications provide different levels of relief. What your doctor chooses to use will depend on your symptoms and where you are having pain. 

Some medications may cause nausea and itching. Please inform your nurse if this occurs so she can alleviate these side effects.

Receiving Your Medication

Use your call light to ask your nurse for pain medicine. The doctor will order all medications and how they are to be given, and the nurse will administer them to you.

Ask questions about the medications you receive. You should become familiar with the name of the medication: what it looks like, why you are taking it and its possible side effects.

You may receive medication in one or more of the following ways:

  • By mouth
  • Intramuscular Injection: Your nurse prepares the medication in a syringe with a needle and gives it through a muscle (usually in the hip)
  • Intravenous Medication: Your nurse prepares the medication in a syringe and gives it through your IV
  • Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) Pump: A pump with pain medication is attached to your IV line that distributes medication when you push a button