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Pain Relief During Birth - Do you want it? The options are there: Epidural, tens machine, water birt

The birthing experience is normally quite painful. You can prepare yourself by being in shape and learning breathing techniques, but there are also a range of pain relief options that might help during labour.

Tens Machine

A TENS machine is a small, battery-operated device that has leads connected to sticky pads called electrodes. This might help when you start having contractions, as it takes the focus away from the pain. You or your partner can control it and make the machine work as you get a contraction. You can either buy it or rent it. If you have a heart problem, it is not recommended.

Water Birth

If you wish to use the birthing pool as a pan relief before you give birth, or indeed give birth in the pool, you should let the hospital know beforehand. Some women find the water to be like a natural pain relief. Others prefere to stay in the pool for a while and then get out of the water for the birth.

Gas and Air (Entonox)

This is a pain relief you ca get at the hospital, when you are having contractions. You breathe in the gas and air through a mask. The gas takes about 15-20 seconds to work, and you breathe it in just as a contraction begins. This is a good way of also controlling your breath, because the midwife or nurse will tell you to breathe slowly and deeply.


Epidural is an injection in your lower back to stop you feeling pain in the birthing area. If you know beforehand that you would like an epidural during birth, you should let your midwife know, so you can have all the information. Epidurals are given by a specialist doctor called an anaesthetist. Some find the epidural to be a great relief during birth, and others have a more negative experience, as the epidural takes some time to wear off and you might take longer to recover after the birth. There are several aspects to consider which is why it's a good idea to ask the midwife all your questions and get informed before you make a decision.

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