Everyone copes with pain in a different way and this is no different in labour. It is important to understand that labour can be painful and that only you can know how much pain you are experiencing in labour. How you manage the pain can depend on many different factors.
Remaining as mobile as possible in labour is very beneficial, both with labour progress and helping you cope with the discomfort. We have birthing balls that you can use to encourage you to be as upright as possible and we encourage you to regularly change your position throughout labour and delivery to ensure that you feel as comfortable as possible. Many women also find antenatal classes helpful in preparation for the labour. You can book these classes directly using here.
Gas and air (Entonox)
This can be is used in conjunction with other forms of pain relief. Gas and air will not remove all the pain, but it can help reduce it and make it more bearable. It is easy to use and you control it yourself. You breathe in the gas and air through a mouthpiece, which you hold yourself. The gas takes about 15-20 seconds to work, so you breathe it in just as a contraction begins. It works best if you take slow, deep breaths.
This involves an injection into your buttock or thigh to relieve pain and help you relax. This takes about 20 minutes to work and the effects last 2-4 hours. Small amounts do pass through to baby and can affect the first feed.
An epidural can be the most effective type of pain relief. Mobile epidurals, also known as walking epidurals, are low dose epidurals that we offer during labour. A smaller amount of local anaesthesia is used in combination with other painkilling medicines. A mobile epidural gives pain relief without too much of a heavy legged feeling or numbness, allowing the woman to remain upright and adapt comfortable positions.
An anaesthetist will site the epidural (which takes approximately 20 minutes), we have an anaesthetist available 24/7 but please bear in mind there may be a delay in the anaesthetist attending if they are busy in theatre or siting another epidural.
Birthing partners (maximum of 2) can visit at any time. We encourage birthing partners to keep friends and family up to date with any news of the delivery as due to confidentiality, we are unable to give information out over the phone.
The departments within the maternity unit are accessed through a secure intercom system. All visitors are asked to identify themselves before admission is granted. Additional security measures include CCTV throughout the hospital.