Pain relief during labour
      Pain relief during labour

      Helpppppp: Pain Relief During Labour

      Besides the laughing gas and epidural jab, did you know that there are other pain relief options as well? Choose from different interventions, which all have their benefits and drawbacks. Read on to find out more.

      Ahhh! Labour day is dawning and “horror” childbirth stories from other Singaporean mums have sent chills down your spine. Will you be squeezing your birth partner’s hand and go drug-free and au naturel during labour? Or are you more of a “knock me out and wake me up when the hairdresser arrives” kind of mum?

      If the discomfort is not what you expected, it’s reassuring to know that pain relief is always available!

      TENS Machine
      TENS is short for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Essentially, a TENS machine is a small battery-operated device that connects to your skin via electrodes. Many mothers around the world ease their labour pain with these machines[1]. You can also rent these machines online. Just make sure that your machine is specifically designed for use in childbirth.

      ·         Prevents pain signals from reaching your brain

      ·         Is especially effective in the first stages of labour

      ·         Helps your body release “feel-good” endorphins

      ·         Can be controlled to match pain levels

      ·         Has no known effects on the baby

      By the way, it takes about an hour before you really feel the benefits. Be sure to start using it as soon as you go into labour!


      Gas and Air

      Childbirth is no laughing matter, but laughing gas is sometimes used to make one feel more euphoric and relaxed! This mysterious gas is medically known as Entonox, and can be combined with other pain relief methods.

      ·         Can quickly reduce the pain of contractions

      ·         Can make your mouth a little dry and cause nausea while inhaling

      ·         Has no known effects on the baby



      Body-temperature warm water can help you relax and soothe those painful contractions! Some delivery suites in Singapore come with a water immersion facility or a birth pool, so ask for a bath or stand (or sit or squat) under a warm running shower if you have to.



      Epidurals are only available at hospitals. They are usually administered when your cervix is dilated to around 5cm or 6cm and when there are strong contractions.


      Don’t panic if you lose feelings in your legs as this is normal. As such, you’ll have to be bed-bound and may need help timing your pushes throughout the delivery.

      ·         A local anaesthetic injected into your lower back

      ·         Has a timed or controlled release

      ·         Takes pain away and leaves you with a clear head to focus on labour

      ·         Has very few complications but can cause side effects such as shivering, low blood pressure and, in rare cases, bad headaches

      Extra Tips

      As you prepare your birth plan with your partner, be sure to discuss pain relief options with your healthcare professional and find out which can be provided by your hospital. This is no different if you’re planning a home birth as well – ask your midwife or health professional about the types of pain relief available to you! 

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