An anaesthetic that numbs you from the waist down.
It gives you total pain relief and it can also be topped up.
You can't move about and you might not be able to feel when it's time to push.
It helps to know:
Some hospitals offer mobile epidurals that enable you to move around with help.
This is injected into your buttock or thigh to relieve pain.
It can be regularly topped up.
You may feel sick or drowsy. It can cross the placenta, making your baby sleepy, too. It helps to know:
You may be offered diamorphine but it's much stronger so will only be given once. Gas and air
Nitrous oxide and oxygen, which you inhale. Advantages:
It takes the edge off the pain and it won't affect the baby, as it wears off fast. Disadvantages:
It can make you feel sick, light-headed and dizzy. It can also give you a dry mouth. It helps to know:
You can use gas and air, brought in cylinders, at a home birth.TENS machine
Triggers your body's own pain killers and blocks pain Advantages:
It's drug-free and it's mobile, so you can use it at home. Disadvantages:
Not so good for advanced labour as it takes about an hour to become effective.It helps to know:
You can hire one from hospitals or suppliers from around £20 for
7 weeks. Water
This can be a very effective form of natural pain relief. Advantages:
It's totally natural and the buoyancy of the water makes it easier move around. Disadvantages:
You'll need to hire or buy a pool. You have to be 5cm dilated before using it. It helps to know:
Many hospitals offer a birthing pool, but it may be in use when you need it.Create your own birth plan
Now you've got a better idea of what kind of birth you'd like to have, you can create your own personalised birth plan online by clicking here
. Talk your birth plan through with your midwife beforehand and show it to the medical staff when you're in labour so they're clear about what you want. However, try to be flexible as you don't know what will happen and your plans might well change on the day. Don't feel bad if they do!