Pregnancy and baby

Pain relief in labour

What pain relief will be available?

Media last reviewed: 12/04/2012

Next review due: 12/04/2014

Your pain relief options

Labour can be painful, so it’s important to learn about all the ways that you can relieve the pain. It's also helpful for whoever is going to be with you during your labour to know about the different options, as well as how they can support you. Ask your midwife or doctor to explain what's available so that you can decide what's best for you.

Write down your wishes in your birth plan, but remember that you should keep an open mind. You may find that you want more pain relief than you'd planned, or your doctor or midwife may suggest more effective pain relief to help the delivery.

Self-help in labour

You will be more relaxed in labour and better placed to cope with the pain if you: 

  • Learn about labour. This can make you feel more in control and less frightened about what's going to happen. Talk to your midwife or doctor, ask them questions and go to antenatal classes.
  • Learn how to relax, stay calm and breathe deeply.
  • Keep moving. Your position can make a difference, so try kneeling, walking around or rocking backwards and forwards.
  • Bring a partner, friend or relative to support you during labour, but if you don't have anyone, don't worry – your midwife will give you all the support you need.
  • Ask your partner to massage you (although you may find that you don't want to be touched).
  • Have a bath.

Gas and air (Entonox) for labour

This is a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide gas. Gas and air won't remove all the pain but it can help to reduce it and make it more bearable. Many women like it because it's easy to use and they control it themselves.

How it works

You breathe in the gas and air through a mask or mouthpiece, which you hold yourself. You'll probably practise using the mask or mouthpiece if you go to an antenatal class. The gas takes about 15 to 20 seconds to work, so you breathe it in just as a contraction begins. It works best if you take slow, deep breaths.

Side effects

There are no harmful side effects for you or the baby but it can make you feel light-headed. Some women also find that it makes them feel sick, sleepy or unable to concentrate. If this happens, you can stop using it.

If gas and air doesn't give you enough pain relief, you can ask for a painkilling injection as well.

Pethidine injections in labour

Another form of pain relief is the intramuscular injection (into the muscle of your thigh or buttock) of a drug, such as pethidine or, less commonly, diamorphine. The injection can also help you to relax, which can lessen the pain.

How it works

It takes about 20 minutes to work after the injection, and the effects last between two and four hours.

Side effects

There are some side effects to be aware of:

  • It can make some women feel woozy, sick and forgetful.
  • If it hasn't worn off towards the end of labour it can make it difficult to push. You might prefer to ask for half a dose initially to see how it works for you.
  • If pethidine or diamorphine are given too close to the time of delivery they may affect the baby's breathing. If this happens, another drug to reverse the effect will be given.
  • The drugs can interfere with the baby's first feed.

Epidurals

An epidural is a special type of local anaesthetic. It numbs the nerves that carry the pain impulses from the birth canal to the brain. For most women, an epidural gives complete pain relief. It can be helpful for women who are having a long or particularly painful labour, or who are becoming distressed.

An anaesthetist is the only person who can give an epidural, so it won't be available if you give birth at home. If you think you might want one, check whether anaesthetists are always available at your hospital.

How much you can move your legs after en epidural depends on the local anaesthetic used. Some units offer 'mobile' epidurals, which means you can walk around. However, this also requires the baby's heart rate to be monitored remotely (by telemetry) and many units don't have the equipment to do this. Ask your midwife if this a mobile epiduran is available in your local unit.

An epidural can provide very good pain relief, but it's not always 100% effective in labour. The Obstetric Anaesthetists Association estimates that one in eight women who have an epidural during labour need to use other methods of pain relief.

What's involved in having an epidural?

To have an epidural:

  • A drip will run fluid through a needle into a vein in your arm.
  • While you lie on your side or sit up in a curled position, an anaesthetist will clean your back with antiseptic, numb a small area with some local anaesthetic and then introduce a needle into your back.
  • A very thin tube will be passed through the needle into your back near the nerves that carry pain impulses from the uterus. Drugs, usually a mixture of local anaesthetic and opioid, are administered through this tube. (An opioid is a drug that binds to special opioid receptors in the body, reducing pain.) It takes about 10 minutes to set up the epidural, and another 10 to 15 minutes for it to work. It doesn't always work perfectly at first and may need adjusting.
  • After it has been set up, the epidural can be topped up by your midwife, or you may be able to top up the epidural yourself through a machine.
  • Your contractions and the baby's heart rate will need to be continuously monitored. This means having a belt around your abdomen and possibly a clip attached to the baby's head.

Side effects of obstetric epidurals

There are some side effects to be aware of:

  • An epidural may make your legs feel heavy, depending on the local anaesthetic used.
  • An epidural shouldn't make you drowsy or sick.
  • Your blood pressure can drop (hypotension); however, this is rare because the fluid given through the drip in your arm helps maintain good blood pressure.
  • Epidurals can prolong the second stage of labour. If you can no longer feel your contractions, the midwife will have to tell you when to push. This means that forceps or a ventouse may be needed to help deliver the baby's head (instrumental delivery). When you have an epidural, your midwife or doctor will wait longer for the baby's head to come down (before you start pushing). This reduces the chance you will need an instrumental delivery. Sometimes, less anaesthetic is given towards the end so that the effect wears off and you can push the baby out naturally.
  • You may find it difficult to pass urine as a result of the epidural. If so, a small tube called a catheter may be put into your bladder to help you.
  • About one in 100 women gets a headache after an epidural. If this happens, it can be treated.
  • Your back might be a bit sore for a day or two but epidurals don't cause long-term backache.
  • About one in 2,000 women feels tingles or pins and needles down one leg after having a baby. This is more likely to be the result of childbirth itself rather than the epidural. You'll be advised by the doctor or midwife when you can get out of bed.

Read more about the pros and cons of epidurals.

Water births

Water can help you relax and make the contractions seem less painful. Ask if you can have a bath or use a birth pool. The water will be kept at a comfortable temperature but not above 37.5°C, and your temperature will be monitored.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives have produced a joint statement on labour and birth in water. The National Childbirth Trust also has information on using water during labour and birth.

TENS machines

This stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Some hospitals have TENS machines. If not, you can hire your own machine.

TENS has not been shown to be effective during the active phase of labour (when contractions get longer, stronger and more frequent). It's probably most effective during the early stages when many women experience low back pain.

TENS may also be useful while you're at home in the early stages of labour or if you plan to give birth at home. If you're interested in TENS, learn how to use it in the later months of your pregnancy. Ask your midwife to show you how it works.

How TENS machines work

Electrodes are taped onto your back and connected by wires to a small battery-powered stimulator. Holding this, you give yourself small, safe amounts of current through the electrodes. You can move around while you use TENS.  

TENS is believed to work by stimulating the body to produce more of its own natural painkillers, called endorphins. It also reduces the number of pain signals that are sent to the brain by the spinal cord.

Side effects of TENS machines

There are no known side effects for either you or the baby.

Read more about TENS.

Alternative methods of labour pain relief

Some women prefer to avoid the types of pain relief listed on this page, and choose alternative treatments such as acupuncture, aromatherapy, homeopathy, hypnosis, massage and reflexology. However, most of these techniques don't provide effective pain relief.

If you'd like to use any of these methods, it’s important to discuss them with your midwife or doctor and let the hospital know beforehand. Most hospitals don't offer them for pain relief during labour.

If you want to try any of these techniques, make sure that the practitioner is properly trained and experienced. For advice, contact the Institute for Complementary Medicine.

Page last reviewed: 21/01/2013

Next review due: 21/01/2015

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Comments

The 25 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

mommabear222 said on 09 July 2014

Typical nhs, so hypnobirthing doesn't have pain relief effects? But obviously all the nasty chemicals etc do. I think NHS need to acknowledge there are a lot new first time or even parents, viewing this article, so for you to make this statement is quite far fetched with no supporting evidence??

Also, the link you have put on for 'institute of complentary therapy' does not work, could you kindly advise us mom to be's where to get this needed information?

Not all moms want medication.. It seems that since being pregnant,(now 27 weeks) I have found it very difficult to find herbal remedies and natural pain relief/hormonal solutions??Herbal remedies for recurrent thrush and my midwife took over 7 hours to reply about omega 3/primrose oil recommendations my gp laughed at at me regarding I'm sure a lot would agree with me hear
]
its about time the NHS start looking into complementary services and allow them on the NHS for us paying national insurance contributions... We should be able to decide what is best for us and our new babies clearly.

Im so frustrated!! It just angers me that I have to constantly search the internet for advice from parents and moms who are 'in the know' about herbal remedies and solutions... NHS get interested please!!!

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Gem8754 said on 09 May 2014

I think i have a high level of pain tolerance so for my 1st i opted for a water birth and gas and air. I think both helped and would recommend both. That's if a bath relaxes you generally, it does for me. My mouth did get quite dry from gas and air but i got plenty of cold water from my partner. I am due any day with my second and I've opted for the same. My friends who have used the tens machine have also recommend it. And others who have missed out on epidural because they decide they want it too late.

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londonmummy said on 11 October 2013

I used hypnosis as a form of pain relief and it was so effective that the midwife for my first labour called a few members of staff into my delivery suite as she didn't understand what was going on. I pleaded to be admitted with my second child when I was 2 cm dilated as I did not want to give birth unassisted. I was told (in milder terms) to stop telling stories how I did not feel any pain until the last hour (baby's weight 3.200 kg) and come back when I am in established labour. I ended up giving birth to a 3.1 kg baby with my husband for a midwife as I did not feel any pain until the last 10 minutes. Two British surgeons performed thousands of operations using hypnosis as a pain relief for the their patients so everyone who says that hypnosis is not an effective form of pain relief is misinformed. The drawback of hypnotherapy is that it cost me £350 for one to one sessions with a qualified hypnotherapist but as I had two very easy labours and deliveries I think it was worth every penny

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Keely_93 said on 22 September 2013

Elisabeth_mc: I think it depends on your labour, state of mind and pain tolerance. I was only in labour for 12 hours with my daughter, the first eight hours I coped with paracetomal at home, when I did go into hospital I had gas and air, I thought it would make me feel sick but I was quite determined I didn't want any other pain relief, and I wasn't allowed the water birth I wanted. In the end, despite being sick with hypermesis throughout my whole pregnancy gas and air got me by fine! You don't tend to use it very much when it gets to pushing anyway!

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Elisabeth_Mc said on 09 July 2013

I am 28 weeks pregnant with my first baby and I've just started looking into different types of pain relief during labout but to be honest I don't even like the idea of gas and air because I think it will make me feel dizzy and nauseous.. I know that labour isn't going to be completely pain free but am I being completely naive to think that I can do this with just a couple of paracetamol and nothing else??

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CristinaVal said on 09 May 2013

I've had my son at 38 weeks. I planned for a hospital but natural labour and that's what it was. Despite the fact that when the pain hitted me I had selfish thoughts, like knock me out, cut me open and take the baby out, :o) when I had him I was so, so happy I went for a natural birth rather than adding chemicals to mine and baby's body. I was almost completely mobil and able to take care of myself as well as my baby. Now I am pregnant again and I want the exact same thing (although not sure it will be possible due to Asherman's on uterus). Just one thing I was fuming! There was no dinner available as baby came out just after dinner time! I think the hospital should always have a warm soup for the maternity ward. This time I am taking a camping gas bag full of food. :o)

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ger2liukas said on 30 March 2013

I had two easy labours :-) I think state of mind really helped: did not think about the labour as a painful experience, only look forward to your reward - your baby! With first one started naturally, massage on the lower back did the magic, however towards the end I had an injection of pethidine, it made me sleepy in between the contractions and made the pain bearable. I was fully on and the baby wasn't sleepy (as many says). With my second child thought I knew exactly what I want. Couldn't be more wrong! First : massage didn't help, in fact I screamed at my partner the moment he touched me! Could not stand it! All I could do is a lot of walking and leaning forward swinging my hips. Later I did the same - asked for an injection. All went well as the first time. Now I am 24 weeks pregnant and trying to find out what's new in this field (las labour was 10 years ago! ) definitely not going for the pool - previously I had to run to the toilet almost at every contraction - for #1 and # 2. Once in the pool, what's gonna happen!?... Not a pretty sight. Maybe hot shower now and then? And definitelly lots of walking! i have a good pain tolerance , so maybe that's why my labour was almost fun? Good luck to you all :-)

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Georgiana A said on 17 January 2013

You will never know how your reaction will be unless is your second pregnancy and remember the painits not going to last forever.:))

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nananan said on 06 September 2012

I had my first child 8 weeks pematurely nearly 3 years ago and found it extremely and unbearably painful. I couldn't take the gas and air as I found it dried my mouth and throat up completely and I hated it. I ended up having pethidine but found it didn't relieve the pain one tiny little bit. It just made me feel a little out of it in between contractions, but it didn't ease the pain of the contractions at all. I am now 30 weeks pregnant with my second and have bought and been practising a natal hypynotherapy CD. I seem to be unable to self hypnotise, but it certainly helps me to thoroughly relax and has taught me how to turn down the pain dial mentally. I believe that with its help, I will hopefully experience less pain this time round. Because my first was premature, I was recently given steroid injections to mature this baby's lungs in case he comes early too. I had to have 2 injections within 24 hours and found the first relatively painful. Therefore when I went back for the second, I decided to count how long the injection took (as it takes a little while - 18 secs to be precise) and to visualise the numbers as I counted. I found this really worked to reduce the pain and in fact reduced it by about half. This is why I believe my natal hypnotherapy CD is going to help me, as I think if you can manage to relax, breathe deeply and focus on something other than the pain, it will be far less intense and much more manageable. Good luck to every pregnant woman due to give birth soon. I hope all goes well

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CMWigmore said on 22 August 2012

why is it that the mobile epidural option is not mentioned on this list of pain relief options? Is it not available broadly?

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Amz808 said on 31 July 2012

Hi, I had my son three years ago and would like to say how ante natal classes provided by the NHS were very good. Me and my partner learnt loads about pain relief during labour and there was focus on how to make your partnerf eel involved, what they could do to try and help you feel better etc. This page is intended to provide information about what is available not what is best. It is up to the woman in labour what pain relief she feels is necessary and to stand her ground once she has chosen. My birth plan consisted of wanting a water birth at home but wanting gas and air bringing by the midwives aswell. I was in labour for 44 hours and my son was 9 days overdue! I ended up with a birth plan that was useless but I had kept an open mind throughout the whole experience. I used up a full can of gas and air at home then went straight to hospital once my waters had broken and gave birth there, which was upsetting but had to be done. I personally didnt think gas and air was brilliant but it was the only thing I used once the pain became more intense. I have always said once we have our second baby-the first sign of back pain and I'm having an epidural! Everyone is different, my pain tolerance is very good but it doesn't mean yours is :) Choose what you want, there is no right or wrong method of pain relief during labour just make the best of this amazing fabulous experience!

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roseyberry said on 10 July 2012

Im a Midwife and a mother of 7 and I have one thing to say, pain is pain, we are all different, do whats right for you !
No one view or opinion is correct, Ive witnessed hundreds of births both medicalised and natural and the only time it works well for mother and baby is when the woman is informed, respected, listened to, and allowed to birth her baby just as she wants to, be that with a epidural and no pain or with the help of hypnosis techniques,water etc etc. Ive seen excellent outcomes and happy satisfied women using lots of different methods...... Just read up, educate yourself and do whats right for you :) easy ! x

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Maud1e said on 04 July 2012

I had two pregnancies including twins at 40 weeks the second time. In both cases I relied on breathing techniques and on gas and air, and I truly did not find the births a painful experience. I think the NHS advice does sound unduly negative, and I would urge pregnant mums to practise, practise, practise the breathing and relaxation techniques as they really do help. I learned the techniques at the local hospital ante-natal classes but also at NCT classes as well. Having said that, any mum who feels they need pain relief should have it and shouldn't feel pressured into being heroic. Everyone is different.

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Jenny93 said on 05 June 2012

To be honest, I think that every single comment below is silly.
Im 19 years of age and 30 weeks pregnant with my first baby. Now if i'm honest, i'm absolutly petrifide of labour, for many reason, one of them being that I have a serious fear on needles, another being that due to my boy being very big considering how far along I am, I may need to be induced early before he gets 'too big', another being that every single person I know who have had babies have said 'yes labour is painful' for some more than others.
I came on to this page looking for different methods of pain reliefe, and hoped that the comments would be filled with other womens experiences so I could get a good idea of what to use. Ive found that the info on the page to both be helpful and fair/non-biased. But the fact that all these comments are just women nit picking and arguing over something rather pathetic.
At the end of the day different people have different pain thresholds and different things work for different people, for example one of my friends went through labour with no pain reliefe, not by choice, but because none of them took, gas and air made her physically throw up, and the epI just didnt work after 3 attempts she had to go at it alone. On the other hand my mam only used gas and air and a TENS machine when having me and she said, yes it was painful but it was barable.
Im going into this blind with the mind set that, ive gotta push something the size of a large butternut squash out of a hole the size of a.. Well alot smaller, and the chances are its gunna hurt.
In conclusion, all the women who have commented on her should just think, people have come on her for help and advice, not petty arguments. Like I said im 19 years of age, how old are you lot ?? Grow up !!

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soontobemumof3 said on 29 May 2012

apparently using direct quotes is not allowed on this site? anyway, the irony I was pointing towards is the many comments on here that state labour ISN'T painful, then blatently go on to say that they used hypnobirthing methods or other alternative methods of pain relief/control/management......... for what, if there is no pain to be experienced??

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soontobemumof3 said on 29 May 2012

wow... I was asked the other day by my 8 year old daughter what irony is, and I think I should get her to have a look through these comments as this is the ultimate example of irony.

I fail to understand what anybody has an issue with here. This is an NHS website and this page is called "pain relief in labour". Why on earth would you enter this page and then complain that it states labour is painful?


Perhaps if people focussed on what this page is here for; to guide pregnant women through the pro's and con's of the choice of pain relief available on the NHS instead of advertising alternative methods that are not freely available on the NHS, we would be able to stick to the point.

Lets face it, if a mum to be wanted to discover "alternative methods of pain relief for the non-existent pain that is apparently not felt during labour", she would have googled just that and not landed on the NHS choices website.

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Pinkfuzzmonkey said on 21 May 2012

I would like to put in my tuppence worth too! I agree with some of the other comments, pain is a matter of perception and some women do not perceive pain. Most women in this country have no idea how to prepare effectively for childbirth. Our society is full of negative associations of childbirth with women on the TV shown screaming and so on.

We set people up to be scared of the process and use the medication offered. But it doesn't have to be like this! If women learnt how to relax and practiced, we would realise that we are in fact perfectly designed to have babies. I had my baby using 'Natal Hypnotherapy'- self hypnosis for birth. I did a days workshop and lisened to the CD from about 30 weeks. The midwives couldn't believe how calm I was especially for my first baby and my little girl was born at home in the water without any medication or complications. I put this down to my state of mind because of the 'Natal Hypnotherapy'.

I also exercised throughout my pregnancy so I was fit to give birth, made sure she was in the right position by adopting a 'scubbing the floor position' each day before the birth and drank raspberry leaf tea 3 times a day in the 3rd trimester.

I wish more accurate information was available about this in the public domain. And not just cursary mentions of 'alternative methods'.

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Frogberry said on 30 March 2012

Sorry Heidi, I don't agree with you at all. NHS Choices has done a nice balanced account of the pros and cons of different pain relief options.

For the vast majority for women, labour is painful and NHS Choices is trying to reflect reality. Women who have mentioned painful experiences are just relating their experience of labour. They have a right to do that - it does not mean they are bitter. There are women who have pain free labours but excepting those who have an epidural, they are a tiny minority.

People can't make informed choices if they are not given accurate information. NHS Choices has done a pretty good impartial job of describing the pros and cons of different pain relief opitons. If it painted too rosy a picture it would be criticised for leaving women unprepared.

Personally I think they have got the message right.

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Heidi Hi said on 06 January 2012

I read this page, including all of the comments, as I am 32 weeks pregnant with my first child and am trying to prepare myself with what to expect. I am open minded as to what will happen but am not at all afraid.

I was surprised that the opening phrase was 'labour is painful' as I know friends who have experienced pain-free births (yes, many other friends who found it painful) and for a moment I thought - 'am I being lied to? If so by whom?' This statement seems very biased and so has automatically made me wary of any other statements on the page.

I too was disappointed with the statement regarding alternative pain relief. I am here to keep an open mind and the NHS is narrowing it for me.

Regarding the above comments - those who talk about negative, painful experiences sound very, very bitter and have not inspired me in the least. It seems that being in control of whether or not you have pain relief is the problem NOT the pain vs no pain concept.

I'm disappointed that in coming to this page for supportive and encouraging advice I have encountered narrow-minded and old-fashioned statements from the NHS and then a slanging match between those traumatised by birthing experiences and those wishing to advertise hypnobirthing.

Please – let’s have some constructive and positive information/feedback that acknowledges the possibility of a variety of birth experiences. After all, I have never heard of two birthing experiences that were the same.

I choose to remain positive and open minded.

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NicolaHypno said on 25 November 2011

I am sorry that some here have found labour such a painful and negative experience. I had two 9 lb + babies with no pain relief, using only self-hypnosis. That was 20 and 17 years ago and since then I have qualified as a hypnotherapist and helped many women have controlled, relaxed and empowered birth experiences. Pain is subjective. When you first step into a swimming pool, the water feels chilly, but then when you are in the water, it feels fine. Working in an office if you are very busy, you might "forget" to stop for lunch, or maybe not notice that you get a paper cut until things calm down. Hypnosis can teach you to focus away from any pain or discomfort. I have successfully helped people have dental treatment without anaesthetic, and helped someone whose leg was smashed at the scene of a motorcycle accident. He was telling jokes to the paramedics in the ambulance on the way to hospital. Childbirth is natural, it is a huge undertaking, but when you are taught effective self hypnosis by a qualified hypnotherapist it does not have to be painful. PS Hypnotherapy can also help with infertility, nausea, and dealing with any kind of stress and both partners can be fully involved throughout. You have nothing to lose by giving it a go, because all other options are totally compatible with it.

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stroia roxana said on 26 August 2011

i am on my first pregnacy in 32 weeks,and i can say i'm not very scared about the birth.What i can say that everyone is diferent and react diferent to pain,as to pain relifes as well...i really know that maybe its going to be painful but i know as well that i can control the pain very well.i think that in labour you just need to think about your self and keep as calm as posible....don't forget that the sensation of pain comes from your brain..

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lthurtell said on 08 March 2011

I find it really insulting when i hear people state that Labour is not painful fact. As if myself and millions of women the world over have missed a tick. With my first child I truly thought I could go through natural child birth and would find it empowering, I honestly did not go in fearing I would be in pain or couldn't take it. I ending up with an epidural because guess what it really really hurts. After the epidural I had a lovely calm birthing experience and I treasure the memory’s of my Daughters birth. In contrast I was refused an epidural when I gave birth to my second child because the midwife’s said he would be born any minute (I was told that at 11pm and he was born at 10:30am the next day). The two births where like night and day, I was in so much pain I hated my baby when he was first born (it took two days alone with him in the maternity ward for us to bond no rush of instant love) and cry when I think about the labour. Of course everyone’s experiences are different but to say Child birth is not painful and tramatic is demeaning,

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R4 said on 20 December 2010

I'm sorry, but labour is painful, and I am fed up of this myth that it isn't. Yes there are things you can do to reduce the pain through drugs, relaxation methods, or if hypnotherapy works then great, but you do need something and people need to be prepared.

I wonder how much the HypnoBirthing classes cost? As the other comment here seems like a lovely advert.

As for me I would say there is no pride at all in giving birth drug free, it is just your personal choice, yes women all over the world do it without medical intervention, but then the maternal death rates are high. I'm just thankful that I live in a country where I can have a choice and people who aren't trying to sell you something are honest enough to say that child birth hurts, it's how you manage it that counts.

I've had two children, the first was a lovely labour, I had an epidural and as I wasn't in pain I felt relaxed, I was able to bond with my first and feel ready for the task ahead of me. Unfortunately I was not able to have an epidural with my second and I was left shocked, in pain and with postnatal depression, all because the midwife thought she knew what was best for me. All is fine now, but I strongly believe that women need to be given ALL the facts and have their choices respected and I found this site impartial and very helpful.

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hypnomidwife said on 20 October 2010

I have to agree with Melissa on this. I am a midwife working within the NHS and I also teach HypnoBirthing classes. I have worked predominently with women experiencing natural drug free birth and can absolutely state that it is NOT always awful, painful and scary.

The above information is breeding fear, suggesting that even if women would like to experience a gentle positive birth then they will probably change their minds because its so painful!!! What a dreadful message to give women at such an emotive time.

The fact is that natural drug free birth results in better outcomes, less postnatal depression, higher breast feeding rates, well socialised babies, empowered women and ... less cost for the NHS! so perhaps this page needs reviewing?! I absolutely support the idea of informed choice and believe women should be aware of all there options but on a site such as this it should be offered in an unbiased fashion.

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melissamedway said on 20 October 2010

i had to join this site to state this fact: Labour is not painful (in all circumstances).

I found this an irresponsible statement to make from a national health authority. I and thousands of other women can attest to the possibility of comfortable and often painfree births, which brings me to my second criticism...

Quote: "Some mothers want to avoid the above methods of pain relief and choose acupuncture, aromatherapy, homeopathy, hypnosis, massage and reflexology. Most of these techniques don't provide very effective pain relief."

As a mum who used HypnoBirthing (The Mongan Method) and was so successful I now teach it; this was a particularly inflammatory and inaccurate statement to make; particularly ironic as this method is now being used in several NHS trusts around the UK, and has growing support from midwives and obstetricians alike!

I would like to see this page reviewed and edited so that it presents scientific fact, not biased opinion.

The only thing I can agree on is the importance of relaxation, but how can any expectant parents be capable of that when certain parts of the NHS itself makes birth so frightening in the first place.

Thankfully my local NHS hospital and it's wonderful staff were very supportive and excited by my HypnoBirthing and saw the results first-hand.

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Epidurals

How epidurals work, when they're used, and how safe they are

TENS machines

Everything you need to know about this alternative method of pain relief

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