Back Pregnancy

What pain relief during labour?

Pregnant Mom in labor with husband and nurse at bedside

This week I had the appointment with the anaesthetist to discuss pain relief during labour. This was particularly important due to the spinal surgeries I’ve had in my lumber spine and the concerns I have over an epidural. In addition to these methods there are also natural, no-medical pain relief options you may want to consider.

Previous labours

I had the boys in 2007 & 2008 before I had the back problems and spinal operations. Both labours were spontaneous and I had normal deliveries, which was great. With the first I was begging for an epidural but the hospital was to busy with emergencies, so instead I had gas and air and pethidine. The second labour was more manageable and this time I was fine with the gas & air and pethidine, I think I had more confidence I could get through labour this time round!

Gas and Air

This is also called Entonox. Some women find it really helpful and I was one of them, it helps in the earlier part of labour and although it didn’t take the pain away completely it made it much more manageable. It works really quickly and left my system just as quickly, it just made me feel a bit drunk and very very thirsty. Other women don’t like this as it can make them feel sick. It’s an easy option to try and if you don’t like it, it won’t be in your system making you feel ill for a long time.

Pethidine

I had this with both the boys and it was an injection into my thigh, it works within about 20 minutes and lasts for between 2-4 hours. This was great and really helped me control the pain and focus on being in the correct position and also the pushing when I got to that stage. I didn’t experience any side effects from this and in fact remember telling the midwife how much I loved her once it had kicked in, it certainly put me in a much happier and calmer mood.

Epidurals

An epidural is a type of local anaesthetic that is injected into the spinal canal, it numbs the pain signals and nerves and can offer women complete pain relief.

My concerns about having an epidural

Since the pregnancies I have had an epidural for back pain and unfortunately had a dural tear and needed a blood patch to fix this, I was seriously ill for about 6 weeks after this. I’ve also had an epidural after the first 2 spinal surgeries to help with pain relief, although they didn’t really work too well and after the second one they ended up taking it out.

With the fusion and surgical scar in the area the epidural or spinal would be put I don’t have a lot of confidence the anaestist would get the correct position first time, there’s a higher risk of infection and no guarantee that it would work. With the surgery I’ve been through I’m very protective over who I let near my back and it’s just not a risk I want to take.

The anaesthetist was great at listening to my concerns and has written in my notes that I’m not to have an epidural or spinal. If I need an emergency section then I will have to have a general anaesthetic which comes with it’s own risks, but ones I’m happy to accept.

We also discussed pain relief whilst in labour. I’m planning on using the gas & air and also the pethidine as per the last labours and am hoping that this will be enough to get me through the whole process.

Remifentanil

I have been offered another type of pain relief called Remifentanil which would be administered intravenously via a PCA (patient controlled analgesic pump). I hadn’t heard of this before but understand that it’s a very strong and fast acting analgesic. If I want to use this then I can’t take it within 4 hours of pethidine and I must have a midwife with me at all times to monitor me.

This is a good option to have as I don’t know how much my back and pelvis are going to hurt during the labour due to the current problems I have. I’m really please to understand all the options available to me and have it all written in my notes so I can make whatever decision is best for me on the day.

If you want more information about pain relief in labour check out these links;

To see information about epidurals vs remifentanil click here

To look at the overview of medical pain relief from the NHS click here

 

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15 Comments

  • Reply agentspitback

    Good advice about the pain relief options. I couldn’t take pethidine as I was throwing up straight after the injection and honestly I think it was that that made me too tired to “push”. It’s good to be informed before labour so that you can make the best decision. I was too much in a daze during my first one to think straight or listen. #fartglitter

    November 17, 2015 at 12:26 pm
  • Reply Vix at AnotherMumInLondon

    I really hope you can have a straightforward birth and your back doesn’t give you trouble. You really don’t want back pain as well as labour pain.
    With my kids I had gas&air only both times. Both times I wondered what the hell I was doing going drug free but looking back I’m pleased I did. Each birth is so different. Wishing you a smooth ride.
    Vix x
    #fartglitter

    November 16, 2015 at 11:20 pm
    • Reply Lisa

      Thanks Vix, yes hoping for a straightforward labour, got my fingers crossed that she behaves and comes out nicely. Ideally would like to be in and out of hospital x

      November 17, 2015 at 9:38 am
  • Reply dearmummyblog

    Great advice! So many options on pain relief however sometimes you don’t get much choice when you are in the throws of labour! #FartGlitter

    November 16, 2015 at 1:33 pm
    • Reply Lisa

      I agree I think I’m just going to roll with it, here’s hoping for a speedy labour and delivery! 🙂

      November 16, 2015 at 3:05 pm
  • Reply Mama

    I never knew there were so many options so this is really helpful, thanks. I tried almost everything in the end last time and would be most upset if I couldn’t have an epidural. It must be a relief having two other births and knowing you can manage without.
    Thanks for linking up to #fartglitter x

    November 16, 2015 at 12:58 pm
  • Reply Silly Mummy

    Good advice about the options. I had some gas and air, but did not find it helpful at all. My labours were quick though & I never got to have more than a few minutes of it with either, so possibly I never got enough in my system for it to work. Remifentinal sounds like a good additional option to all the usuals. #fartglitter

    November 16, 2015 at 12:25 pm
  • Reply Anna Brophy

    So much to consider!!! But of course, you are the one who has to get through this which you will with flying colours!! I actually opted for an epidural with my second and it only worked on one side…despite rocking me gently from side to side, it did not work especially well and I was still sucking gas like a crazy!! Having said that, I would definitely have another crack…whatever it takes. All the best!!! #FartGlitter

    November 16, 2015 at 10:19 am
    • Reply Lisa

      Thanks Anna, I think labour is probably the one thing I can’t control but nice to know all my options before hand. Just have to roll with it on the day 🙂

      November 16, 2015 at 3:09 pm
  • Reply The Speed Bump

    Fantastic advice! I had hoped to just use gas and air, but I had to be induced early. On the maternity ward, all the women were telling me “induction is awful, have an epidural straight away”… I held out and I’m glad I did as I managed with gas and air & diamorphine (although diamorphine wears off really quickly). It’s such a personal choice isn’t it? That’s a really useful guide! #fartglitter

    November 16, 2015 at 9:21 am
  • Reply 30 weeks pregnant | Backsnbumps.com

    […] a different option of pain relief called remifentinal, which I hadn’t heard of before, click here for the full […]

    November 13, 2015 at 11:53 am
  • Reply moderatemum

    Great advice Lisa, I wish I had had this when I was doing my birth plan. I loved gas and air so so much. Is there a sneaky way I can get some for my house…for emergencies.

    November 12, 2015 at 9:07 pm
    • Reply Lisa

      As long as if when the kids are being an absolute nightmare and having meltdown counts as an emergency 😉

      November 12, 2015 at 9:22 pm
  • Reply Sheena Neil

    Great post Lisa. I might have to start my birth plan soon too. It’s getting closer.
    How’s your back feeling with bubs weight?

    November 12, 2015 at 3:30 pm
    • Reply Lisa

      Thank you I’d never heard of remifentinil until yesterday so hoping it my offer other women a good alternative to epidurals? Back is not too bad just can’t wait for the SPD pain to go away when she arrives x

      November 12, 2015 at 5:29 pm

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