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There are many ways to manage pain during labor. It can often be done with no anesthesia or strong pain medications. Talk to your healthcare provider about any options you would like to explore.
Some of these are learned in special classes. Your healthcare provider can help you find classes. The hospital or birth center may have a tub or shower you can use during early labor. These methods may be of help to you:
A warm tub or shower between contractions
Massage and therapeutic touch by your support person or labor coach
Reading materials that are comforting or inspiring
Music that is soothing
Analgesics are mild medications that reduce pain. They can be used along with some relaxation methods. They can give you pain relief without total loss of feeling or alertness. They may lessen the pain of strong contractions. You may feel well enough to nap between contractions. They have little effect on your baby if given early in labor. This may be done by injection or by IV.
You may plan to use little or no medication. But you may change your mind during labor. You can ask for medication at any time if you need it. Your healthcare provider will talk with you about any risks that medication may have.