Our weekend post is on the available options for women during labor .some women are not even aware that they are options to .
We will be dealing with the most common scientific and medically certified options even though there are traditional methods of managing pain for a woman in labor.

epiduralEPIDURAL

An epidural is a local anaesthetic used during labor to numb pain nerves that carry impulses from the birth canal to the brain as it flows through the body providing instant relief within 10 to 15 minutes of administering.

It is usually injected inserted into the back with a needle to numb any form of pain in the legs , chest , abdomen and pelvic area , often times administered before and during labor. It is used for both vaginal birth and C-section.

This method of pain management is the preferred amongst most women and has long been in use , but as to everything there are side effects with it’s use such as :

• Delayed and longer labor
• Nerve damage if not properly administered
• Feeling of Pins and needles on your legs
• Headache
• Temporary Sore back after birth

An epidural must therefore be administered by an experienced anesthesiologist .

GAS

This is a really cool way of administering pain relief to a pregnant woman . It is simply the use of Nitrous gas otherwise known as Entonox, Laughing gas or Anesthesia gas, it is a colorless and odorless gas ,a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen.

entonox

This does not totally eradicate pain but reduces it considerably . It’s application is quite simple,the woman sucks on air using a facemask or mouthpiece as it passes through the lungs and quickly enters the blood stream, reaching the brain and begins to take effect .

It’s effect is not long lasting and the patient can control it by choosing when to administer .

Side effects include :

• Drowsiness and disorientation
• Nausea and vomiting
• Feeling of claustrophobia
• Dryness of the mouth from too much use

TENS

TENS simply means Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation .

The machine is quite small and portable and can be worn on the body , so small that it is even possible to have one at home . TENS works by sending small electrical pulses to the body like electric shocks thereby stimulating the body to release endorphins which are the body’s natural pain killers .

tens-3

It is a small battery powered box with wires connected to sticky pads which are stuck on the body .This can also be controlled by the user .There are no known side effects as it is not only used for pregnancy alone but for other conditions as well. It is advised that a user be cautious during use such as:
• It should not be used on broken or grazed skin
• Not to be used while driving or operating machinery
• Should not be used near/or in water

Not sure if TENS is readily available in Nigeria but the other two mentioned above are very much available . whatever option you choose make sure you discuss at length with your doctor about which best suits you .