Women's Health and Education Center (WHEC)

Pain Management During Labor and Delivery

Editor's Note

The use of techniques and medications to provide pain relief in obstetrics requires an expert understanding of their effects to ensure the safety of both mother and fetus. Positive attitudes and the need for good medical care should be stressed. Individualize the treatment of every patient, because each one reacts differently. Be familiar with the limitations, dangers, and contraindications as well as its advantages of the drugs you intend to administer. The management of labor analgesia can be determined only when the patient experiences the pain and decides on options with the help and reassurance of her physician. Current clinical practice is to provide analgesia and not amnesia during labor and delivery. Maternal mortality relating to anesthesia has reduced 10-fold since the 1950s, largely due to an enhanced appreciation of special maternal risk with anesthesia. Ideally, obstetric deliveries today should be conducted only in hospitals where equipment and specially trained personnel are available.

Labor results in severe pain for many women. In the absence of a medical contraindication, maternal request is a sufficient medical indication for pain relief during labor.Regional analgesia provides a superior level of pain relief during labor when compared with systemic drugs and, therefore, should be available to all women. Pain management should be provided whenever it is medically indicated. We hope this section helps obstetricians and gynecologists understand the available methods of pain relief to facilitate communication with their colleagues in the field of anesthesia, thereby, optimizing patient comfort while minimizing the potential for maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality.

Women's Health and Education Center (WHEC)

Women's Health & Education Center
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