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Analgesics for Labor and Delivery

System Analgesics

These medications are often given as injections into a muscle or vein to lessen pain without causing you to lose consciousness. They act on the entire nervous system rather than a specific area. Epidurals may be given for additional pain relief. Side effects of systemic analgesics are mostly minor in nature, and may cause nausea (can be treated with another medication), drowsiness, or trouble concentrating. Systemic analgesics are not given right before delivery because they may slow the baby’s reflexes and breathing at birth.

Regional Analgesia

Epidural analgesia, spinal block and combined spinal-epidural block are all types of regional analgesia used to decrease labor pain. They are popular for childbirth as they provide excellent pain relief, while allowing you to remain alert and awake. Very little medication reaches the baby.