What are my options for pain management?
Keeping in mind the uniqueness of each woman’s childbirth experience, the following options are available at both Evergreen Hospital Medical Center and Overlake Hospital Medical Center.
Natural Childbirth – some women use breathing and relaxation techniques to help them manage their labor discomfort. These techniques are taught in childbirth classes that are offered at both Evergreen and Overlake Hospitals. Lamaze techniques aim to increase a woman’s confidence in her ability to give birth by teaching different strategies such as breathing patterns, positioning, massage, relaxation and hydrotherapy that help a patient with her labor. For information about these classes please visit www.evergreenhospital.org, and www.overlakehospital.org.
Systemic Analgesics – pain medications administered either through the vein (intravenous, or “IV”) or in the muscle (intramuscular, or “IM”) are referred to as systemic analgesics, because they act on the entire nervous system. These medications provide pain relief without loss of sensation or consciousness and afford adequate levels of comfort for some patients. Potential side effects include nausea or drowsiness, and if given immediately before delivery, could potentially make your baby sleepy at birth.
Regional Nerve Blocks – regional blocks are commonly used for pain management during labor. They include epidural, spinal and combined spinal-epidural nerve blocks. All of these techniques provide analgesia with minimal side effects.