10-20 percent of women give birth without pain relief. But most other women will need significant help.

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It is not possible to predict how painful or difficult labour will be.  It depends on so many factors that are unknown and beyond your control such as position of baby, (the size of baby is rarely a factor), the efficiency and frequency of your contractions, the way your soft tissues in your birth canal respond to the baby’s descent, the way in which your labour starts (eg if you have been induced) the way that the mother and baby react to labour, the length of labour and how efficiently you can push.  Some of these factors may be positively affected by having good support from your birth partner and midwife and being well prepared and philosophical.  Keep an open mind.

There is some evidence to show that your philosophy about pregnancy and labour may affect your attitude towards pain relief and therefore the progress of your labour. Although this idea is hard to quantify, there is no doubt that it is a good idea to keep an open mind and a flexible  attitude towards your labour.  Fear is almost certainly a negative force which can affect your experience in an unhelpful way.

The most common forms of pain relief available are discussed in the following sections.

TENS

Water

Entonox (Gas and Air)

Pethidine

Epidural