top of page

Pain Management

Suggestions to make you more comfortable during the "early labour" stage (note: early labour = Contractions are usually irregular ex: every 5 to 15 mins, contractions vary in length ex: lasting 20-90 seconds, the strength of contractions may vary from mild to medium):

-Take a walk. Early labour contractions often stop when you change position or get up and walk

-Get some sleep or rest, especially if pre-labour is at night. Take Tylenol to help you sleep

-Listen to relaxing music or read a favourite book

-Drink water, juice, or tea. Eat a snack or small meal

-Get a massage from your partner

-Go to your favourite place in your home and slowly relax each part of your body

-Go to a movie or rent one

-take a bath or shower

As your contractions get stronger and active labour begins, try these tips (Note: active labour = Contractions are regular ex: 5-10 mins apart, contractions lengthen in time and are consistent or similar to each other ex: lasting 30-60 seconds, intensity of contractions increases, becoming more painful so you cannot talk through them):

-Take a warm shower or tub bath

-Slow dance to your favourite music while leaning forward on your partner

-Rock in a rocking chair

-Change positions often

-Ask your partner for some positive feedback

-Rest between contractions and sleep if you can.

-During contractions, take slow, deep, easy breaths in. When you exhale, let your muscles go loose

-With each contraction, imagine your baby nuzzling in your arms

-Pray, Meditate, or try Guided Imagery (imagine yourself relaxing in your favorite vacation spot)

-Suck on a lollipop or Popsicle

-Sit on a chair and lean forward

What if I want medicine to manage my pain? — If you want medicine during labour, let your doctor or nurse know. Doctors can use different medicines to help manage the pain of labour and delivery.

These medicines work in different ways. Some medicines lessen pain, but still let you feel pressure and other sensations. Other medicines block pain as well as other sensations. The medicines are also given in different ways.

Most women can have the following medicines:

Opioid medicines – These are strong pain medicines that you can get through your IV or as a shot into your muscle. These medicines lessen pain, but do not make it go away completely.

An epidural block – For an epidural block, a doctor will put a thin tube in your back. He or she will give you medicine through this tube. The medicine can remove all of the pain in the lower part of your body. An epidural block takes 10 to 20 minutes to start working.

Intradermal sterile water injections – Two to four quick injections of sterile water just under the skin surface in the low back, injected during a contraction, can markedly reduce labour pains and back labour for one to two hours! This procedure can be repeated when needed!

Nitronox – or laughing gas can help “take the edge off” of labour pains, rather than blocking it out completely. It takes approximately 30 seconds of it being in your system for it to take effect and it wears off quickly. It is easy to use and allows the woman to be in complete control over how much and how frequently it’s used.

What are the downsides of the different medicines? — Some downsides depend on the medicine itself, while others depend on how your body reacts to it.

Some common downsides of an epidural block include the following:

  • After you get an epidural block, you will probably need to stay in bed and won’t be able to walk around.
  • You might have trouble pushing your baby out, because you won’t have as much feeling in the lower part of your body.
  • An epidural block can lower your blood pressure.
  • After the birth, you might have a headache.

Some common downsides of opioids include the following:

  • Opioids can cause nausea or vomiting, or make you feel sleepy.
  • These medicines can’t be given too close to delivery because they can make the baby too sleepy.


  • Does not block pain completely; it can make you feel light headed
bottom of page