Knowing Your Options When Giving Birth

Giving birth can be a relatively daunting experience. After all, you are anticipating pain and discomfort. However, it’s generally best to have an idea of potential complications can occur during the process, as well as the methods of pain relief that are available to you. This will give you more control during the birth, as you will know exactly what is happening or what you can ask for in regards to pain relief!

Potential Complications

While relatively few people will experience complications during both, and while hopefully you will never have to experience any complications during birth, it’s still extremely important that you know what potential complications exist. This will help you to understand what a doctor is saying during a difficult birth. Knowing different terms before you start having contractions will make this much easier, as it can be difficult to process new information when you are in pain. Here are a few terms for different complications and what they actually mean. There are, of course, various other complications that exist out of the list, but for now, let’s focus on some of the most common problems. There are some complications that you definitely shouldn’t expect - if you experience anything out of the ordinary, you should contact a birth injury lawyer.

Preterm Labour / Premature Delivery

A danger that babies can face is being born too early. This is referred to as “preterm labour” or “premature delivery”. It is problematic, as the baby may not be fully developed, and can experience difficulties in surviving independently outside of the womb. Common problems include the baby’s lungs not working properly, or them not being able to generate enough heat to warm themselves.

Prolonged Labour

Prolonged labor is generally experienced by first-time mothers. It is when giving birth takes too long. This can pose problems for both mother and baby, rendering both vulnerable to infection.


When a baby is a breech, he or she isn’t in the correct position for birth. There are three main types of breech.

Frank breech - the baby’s buttocks lead into the pelvis

Complete breech - the baby’s knees and hips are flexed and the buttocks or feet may lead into the birth canal first

Incomplete breech - one of the baby’s feet leads the way into the birth canal

Pain Relief Options

We are all well aware that giving birth is going to be a painful process. We’ve seen actors mimicking birthing pain on the television and in film, and different documentaries have now given us the opportunity to see individuals giving birth in real life. The good news is that there are various pain relief options available to you during this process. You will have to request some early on in the process of giving birth if you do want to be administered them. So, make sure you know what is available well in advance.


Entonox is a mixture of “gas” and “air” (oxygen and nitrous oxide). While entonox will not remove all of the pain of giving birth, it can help to significantly reduce the pain experienced during birth and make the entire process a little more bearable. It generally takes around 15 to 20 seconds to work, so is fast-acting. It has absolutely no harmful side effects for your baby, however, it can potentially make you feel light-headed or unable to concentrate. If this happens, you can simply stop using it.

Pethidine Injections

Pethidine injections are given in your thigh or buttocks as a means of pain relief. It generally takes twenty minutes to take effect and should last between two or four hours. This means that it is generally only administered in the early stages of birthing.


An epidural is essentially a type of local anesthetic. It will numb the nerves between the birth canal and the brain, generally providing complete pain relief. If you want to receive an epidural, you will have to give birth in a hospital. It is unavailable to individuals giving birth at home or other locations, as it has to be carried out by an anesthetist. Yours and your baby’s heart rate will also need to be monitored. The process takes around 10 minutes, and the epidural then generally takes effect after a further fifteen minutes.

Hopefully, this information can come in useful for you when the time does come to deliver your baby into the world!

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