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October 2021

Baillieres Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 1998 Sep; 12(3): 423-41.

The effects of pain and its management on mother and fetus.

May AE, Elton CD.

Leicester Royal Infirmary NHS Trust, UK.

Childbirth is frequently accompanied by pain. For religious, cultural and philosophical reasons many groups have sought to prevent treatment of pain. Pain may have adverse effects on the mother and fetus. The psychological effects of severe pain should not be overlooked particularly where it is associated with an adverse fetal or maternal outcome. There are a number of different forms of pain relief in labour with differing side-effects and efficacies. The controversy concerning medical management of women in labour has been used to dissuade women from requesting pain relief. This debate has encouraged the use of a patient-centred philosophy of care that encourages the patient to retain control. However, good pain relief may allow the women to retain control if administered in a sensitive manner. The ideal analgesic in labour is discussed. Recent and future developments of analgesia in childbirth are discussed with respect to this.

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