There are several methods that can be used to combat pain during labor. As you prepare for your labor experience it is important that you discuss the issue of pain relief with your doctor prior to your labor and delivery. She can address concerns you may have about the use of various pain-relief methods as well as any potential side effects and risks.
Early in labor your obstetrician may offer you intravenous or intramuscular injection of medication to ease the pain of labor. Narcotics, such as meperidine (Demerol) or butorphanol (Stadol), are often used. Narcotics will help with mild contractions in early labor but generally are insufficient to relieve the stronger contractions associated with active labor. In the past, other narcotics such as morphine have been used. Some of the general side effects of narcotics during labor may include:
– Decreased gastric motility
– Loss of protective airway reflexes
– Hypoxia due to respiratory depression
Stadol in particular is often the choice of many women and their physicians. Stadol is considered more potent than morphine and Demerol. Stadol generally starts working in less then five minutes. Stadol is considered to have minimal fetal effects, and creates minimal nausea.