labor & delivery


Delivery is when the baby is born

Labor ends with the actual delivery of the baby. There are two kinds of delivery:

  • Vaginal delivery is the normal process of the baby passing from the uterus, through the birth canal and entering the world through the vagina
  • Caesarean delivery is when the baby is born through a surgical incision in your abdomen and uterus

Pain management

Pain management eases your pain but keeps you relaxed and awake for your baby's birth. There are two types of pain relievers used during childbirth:

Analgesics dull the pain of contractions and help you relax without removing all of your sensations

  • Common medications are Demerol® and Nubain®. Both are narcotics and given by a shot into your muscle or vein
  • Analgesics are used most often in the early stages of labor
  • Doctors don't like to use these drugs late in the labor process, because they can transfer to the baby. If the baby is born before the drugs are out of his or her system, the baby may have poor muscle tone and trouble breathing

Anesthetics completely block any sensations of pain

  • An epidural blocks pain from below your waist to your toes. You will not feel pain but you'll be able to feel pressure
  • Spinal anesthesia, or spinal block, numbs your body from the waist down. It's usually given right before delivery. Mothers often have to lie flat on their back for several hours after receiving a spinal block

In this section:

Vaginal delivery
Caesarean delivery