The epidural


The non-drug options are massages, Bonapace (a combination of pain self-management, massages and full involvement of the father) and hypnosis (even though its effects are very mild).

Nitrous oxide (aka laughing gas) is one of the pharmacological treatments. Combined with oxygen, it is breathed in bursts after every block of two or three contractions. This method is effective but it is less and less offered in hospital because the alloy of the two gases cause significant damage to the ozone layer.

Narcotics (such as Demerol) have also proven effective but many obstetricians hesitate to use it because the baby absorbs a part of the dose given to the mother and can suffer from respiratory depression.

Another narcotic, the Remifentanil, acts quickly but its effect only lasts a few minutes. Yet, it is more and more used because the mother can control its absorption. She only has to press a button that triggers the injections of the solution contained in a little bag.

Many studies have shown that the epidural is the most effective method to relieve labor and delivery pain, says Dr. Loubert. “But there are many myths and conflicting interpretations of the results”, he adds.

Other studies have revealed that women who are not using medication during labor are more satisfied with their experience six weeks after the baby is born, or even a year later.

Image de Josée Descôteaux

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