Pain Relief During Childbirth - Pethidine
Pethidine, a controlled narcotic drug, is a much stronger form of pain relief during childbirth than entonox or Meptid and its use is strictly controlled during labor. Usually a laboring mother will only receive a maximum of two doses injected into her thigh and these must be given at least three to four hours before the baby is expected to be born.
Although it doesn't offer complete pain relief, it does cause a feeling of being "out of it" or detached from the pain. Normally it has worn off by the time of the actual birth so it is often used alongside gas and air.
In cases where it has been given too close to the birth it can cause some breathing difficulties for the baby. As a result the baby may require an antidiote which is available in hospital.
If you receive pethidine you may find yourself very sleepy at moments during the labor and in some ways this is a good thing as it allows you to have a break or a brief respite from the pain. However, some women do not like this sensation as they feel too out of control. Anoither side effect is that your baby may be very sleepy and a little unresponsive at birth and may sleep a lot for the first day or so which can cause some problems with establishing a feeding routine.
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