Pain in normal labour can be relieved using many non-pharmacological methods including:-
Techniques that reduce painful stimuli: Assuming various upright positions to ease the pain, encourage
labour progress and increase the diameter of the pelvis.
Med Assoc Thai 2004; 87(Suppl 3): S194-202
Non-pharmacological pain relief in labour
Melzack and Walls Gate control theory 3
introduced in 1965, helps to explain the various
methods used in non-pharmacological pain relief in
labour. Some, as follows, are the revival of traditional
methods and some are newly developed.
1. Techniques that reduce painful stimuli.
2. Techniques that activate peripheral sensory
3. The use of Active Birth.
4. Techniques that enhance descending
Summary: To be successful in the use of
non-pharmacological pain relief in labour:-
1) Caregivers i.e. obstetricians & nurses must
have a change of attitude.
2) Women need to be informed of the various
alternatives available to them.
3) Care-givers should stop regarding normal
labour & birth as a medical event.
4) Pharmacological pain relief should be used
as a last and not first resort.
The well known U.K. obstetrician, Peter M
Dunn, wrote:- The use of anaelgesia for the first line
of defence, is one of the saddest developments in
obstetrics. It is also responsible for a very great deal
of birth asphyxia and perinatal morbidity including
interference with circulatory and respiratory
adjustments at birth, poor temperature homeostasis
and impaired suckling and swallowing