I am Dr. Astha Dayal, Gynaecologist. Today I will talk about the ways to relieve pain in labor. For women, pregnancy is really a special time, people really look forward to it and its time for celebration. But every woman has fear in the heart and that is labor pain. And sometimes people do not want to talk about it. They do not want to scare themselves. I think it is important to know what are the options available to get relief from pain than taking an informed decision. And a lot of studies have shown that if you are not stressed in labor, the oxytocin releases better, faster labor, less pain and then smooth delivery. So, it is important that you do not fear labor and you understand that what options are, what level of pain relief can be given and then not be scared about it. So, starting from the initial stages of labor. The first stage of labor people has a very prolonged first stage.
A little pain will be happening after 1 hour or 15 mins but it is a tolerable pain. Some people prefer to stay at home at that time. You can walk around, watch TV, chat with a friend. You can also do some breathing exercises which helps you relax better, that will help you to take the contraction in a better way. When the pain increases, you would like to get yourself a massage. So, you should have one designated person who should be there with you in labor. A birthing partner can help you throughout your labor. All things should be planned in advance. So, we recommend you for a birth plan. How will you plan your labor? Do you want to have a hot shower, any aromas in the room, do you want dim lights, who you want to be with you as your birthing partner, pain relief methods, so if you have all this sorted, it is easier for you to manage at that particular time. You can take a lot of birthing positions, you can sit on a ball, you can lean on a chair, you can move around, walk around, any position you are comfortable in. This will all give you some pain relief during that movement of contraction.
Now, as the contraction increase, sometimes it becomes little unbearable at that particular time you can opt for gas and air. This is available very freely in hospitals. It is a supply of gas in the room, it is given through a mask. So, it is a patient control method. The moment you start getting a contraction, you take it and breath in it. The moment contraction goes, you can remove it. So, this is the gas which makes you little drowsy, relaxed, helps in pain relief to a little extent and then when you breathe out it goes. It is very safe for the baby also. Half of my patients do not need any other pain relief method, they live with the help of this gas only. Sometimes, some women do not like it and they feel like they are not getting much pain relief, so you can go to the next level which is called epidural anesthesia. With the help of this, medicine is being injected into your back. It is not painful. In this, your lower body part will become a little numb. You will feel the contraction, tightening, but you will not feel pain. This is the most effective form of pain relief. It actually relaxes you. The only side-effect for this injection that you will face difficulty to push the baby. So, sometimes we need to pull out the baby with the help of the vacuum. It doesn't cause any epidural backache which is the usual myth and comfortable thing to deliver.
For those people who are opting for c-section just because they are scared of the labor pain, an epidural is a very good thing. You will be pain-free during labor. And if can have a normal delivery, it is much better than c-section. Just because of fear of pain, you should not go for surgery. Another method for pain relief is water birthing. This is being used the world over. In North India, we have very few centers for this kind of birth. We pace the mother in water for which we have access for temperature control. There are sterile lining. It is there in a labor room. A woman can sit in the water and move also. If you notice that if you do exercise, you get tired faster. In water also, you swim and burn calories and you get less tired. The pain relief is also much better. The contraction is taken in a better way. The woman is more relaxed. WHole birthing experience is a smooth experience.
The baby becomes used to live in water, baby just swims out into the tub. We hand over the baby to the mother and mother can start feeding the baby immediately. No internal checks we do. Woman just breath out the baby. It is a relaxing and very beautiful experience. But a lot of criteria that you have to fulfill if you want to go for a water birth. You should not gain too much weight for active labor and there should not be any complications which require continuous monitoring of the baby's heart. The women who are having water birth are very happy with their experience. So, in nutshell, I would like to say every woman who is going for labor, should have a plan in her mind that what all methods are available she wants to use in her labor and what all things she doesn't want. I am wishing all of you a very healthy and happy journey through pregnancy in motherhood. So, the intent is basically a healthy baby and mother. Whatever pain relief you take, you should not think not bearing pain will make you a less strong woman in any way. There are these options available which women should freely use.