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Maternity - Epidural Pain Relief in Labour

This page is to give you information about epidurals to help you decide whether you would like to have an epidural for the birth of your baby.

You do not have to decide now. A midwife or anaesthetist will be available on your admission to the hospital should you wish to discuss any further details.

Pain relief in labour

Every labour and birth is different and everyone is different when it comes to how they feel pain and how they handle it.

Until you’re dealing with the feelings of childbirth, you may not know how you’ll cope or what will work best.

There is a lot of helpful information about labour and birth in your ‘Having a Baby’ book (particularly in pages 70–83) that will have been provided to you by your midwife.

We recommend that you read this in preparation for the birth of your baby and discuss any questions you may have with your midwife or doctor.

There are many things that can help you cope with pain in labour. These include staying active and changing positions; breathing techniques; water immersion (bath or shower); complimentary therapies including hypnotherapy, reflexology, massage and aromatherapy; subcutaneous sterile water injections; TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation); Nitrous Oxide (gas and air); opioid analgesia (morphine) and epidural analgesia.

This information focuses on epidural analgesia.

You can also download this information as a PDF, or ask for a copy from your midwife.

Further information

If you have any questions, please speak with your midwife or doctor, who can arrange for you to speak with an anaesthetist. You can also request to speak to the Maternity Unit Manager at your birthing hospital. You have the right to an interpreter. Please ask staff to arrange this service for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated: 28 February 2023