Pain relief

Several methods of pain relief are available during labour and your midwife can talk you through these. 
Relaxation and breathing exercises 
Learn how to relax, stay calm and breathe deeply.


Keep moving around, your position can make a difference so try kneeling, walking around or rocking backwards and forwards.

Birthing pools are available, water can help you relax and make contractions seem less painful. If the birthing pool is apart of your birthing plan our maternity team will do their best to accommodate this and if there are no concerns. The birthing pool is also on a first come first serve basis, when you or your partners calls the unit at the beginning of labour please mention to them that your preference is to utilise the birthing pool.

Having a bath or standing in the shower can also help during the first stages of labour. The
National Childbirth Trust offer more information on water during birth. 

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

You breathe in the gas and air through a mask or mouthpiece, which you hold yourself and there are no harmful side effects to you or your baby but please be aware it can make you feel light-headed. Some women also found that it makes them feel sick, sleepy or unable to concentrate, if this happens you can stop using it. Your midwife will help guide you on use.

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This is a painkiller which is given via an injection, the effect lasts between 2-4 hours and can make some women feel woozy, forgetful and sick, it it hasn't worn off towards the end of labour it can make it difficult to push. If pethidine is given too close to the time of delivery it may affect your baby's breathing so please speak to your midwife who will be able to help you decide on when the best time to use this is. 

An epidural is an continuous infusion of painkillers which are administered in your lower back. 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 tired. An anaesthetist is the only person who can give an epidural.