During your labor, you’ll have different pain relief options available to you. These options may change depending upon your medical condition.
During a normal vaginal delivery, one simple option is to administer pain medication through your IV. The IV pain medication may be enough to lessen the pain as you go through the first and second stages of labor.
There are times, however, when you will feel that more pain relief is needed than what you’re getting from the IV pain medication. In these cases, a procedural called an epidural can be done. An epidural is a procedure where a small tube will be placed through the skin of your back using a needle. The needle’s then removed, and special pain medicine’s given through that tube to provide you with a higher level of pain relief. This medicine’s typically delivered right up until the baby is delivered.
Even if you want to give birth vaginally, there are times when it may be necessary for your obstetrician to recommend delivery by Cesarean section. If you already have an epidural in place, this will most likely be used to give you additional medicine so you don’t feel any pain during the surgery.
If you’re scheduled for a Cesarean birth in advance, or a Cesarean birth is recommended while you’re in labor but you don’t have an epidural in, you’ll most likely receive spinal anesthesia. Spinal anesthesia’s an injection of medicine through the skin of your lower back. This medicine will make the lower part of your body numb, temporarily, so you don’t feel any pain during the surgery.
There are rare times when it might be necessary for you to receive general anesthesia for your Cesarean birth. General anesthesia’s where you’re given medicines through your IV, and these medicines will make you go off to sleep for the surgery. Anesthesia medicines will be continued that will keep you asleep until the surgery’s completely done.
Regardless of the kind of anesthesia that you have for your Cesarean birth, you will receive pain medication to help you to feel as comfortable as possible after the surgery.