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Medications Used in Labor for Pain Management

This brief discussion on medications that are commonly used for laboring women to manage discomfort in labor is meant to provide you with general information that you can use when discussing this with you physician or midwife.

There are pros and cons to each medication used. Please also read the SA article on “Comfort Measures in Labor” to review ideas that work to manage pain for many women even if they then go on to request medication.

It is good to know about the choices you have for pain management during labor and a little about each one. Because you will not know ahead of time how your labor will progress, it is good to also know that you can use multiple medications over time or usually change your mind if what you have chosen is not working. Your provider and your labor nurses will help give you information to make those decisions along the way.

Dr. Cheryl Sharp, Chief Content Officer
Cheryl is a midwife and women's health nurse practitioner who has been caring for women, newborns, and families more than 30 years. She views the opportunity to journey with women through their pregnancy and beyond as a sacred privilege.