The amount of pain experienced by women in labor is hard to predict. Some have tolerable pain while others may benefit from some form of analgesia. Many non-medical techniques can help deal with the pain of labor. The choice of analgesic techniques is between the patient, obstetrical caregiver, and when applicable the anesthesiologist. Again, both the ACOG and the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) jointly opine that maternal request is sufficient medical indication for pain relief during labor. It is only the choice of analgesic that is made in conjunction with the medical team providing care to the patient.
The following discussion reviews options for labor analgesia, including nonmedicated and medicated pain relief methods. Nonpharmacologic analgesia techniques include prepared childbirth (LaMaze), aromatherapy, hypnotherapy, acupuncture, and transcutaneous electrical stimulation. Pharmacologic techniques include systemic analgesia, regional analgesia, and nerve blocks.
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