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The Effects Of Morphine: Labour Pain Relief Explained

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The Effects Of Morphine: Labour Pain Relief Explained

The Effects Of Morphine: Labour Pain Relief Explained

It may sound scary (or just what you want) but morphine-based pain relief is a popular pain reliever for labour

Morphine is an opiate pain reliever. It can take two forms ndash; morphine and diamorphine. Neither is stronger but diamorphine works faster. Diamorphine is also known as heroin ndash; but dont worry, using it as a pain reliever wont turn you into an addict!

You will most likely be offered morphine in the first stage of labour if you need help coping with strong contractions. It is a good way of postponing or even avoiding an epidural.

While morphine can help you through contractions, its unlikely to be offered late in labour when it can cause breathing problems for the baby. Four hours or more has to pass before you can enter a birthing pool, though, as the drowsiness that may be caused by the morphine needs to wear off before you get even more relaxed in the water.

Why morphine-based pain relief might be right for you

  • It works quickly, kicking in within 20 minutes and lasts between two and four hours.
  • It wont slow down labour as an epidural might.

Why morphine-based pain relief might not be right for you

  • Its not available in every hospital ndash; check with your midwife or doctor when writing your birth plan to see if its available where you plan to have the baby.
  • Morphine crosses the placenta, so if given too late in labour, it may affect your babys breathing and cause him to be drowsy for several days after birth.
  • The baby may need to be checked after birth for signs of morphine effects, probably in a unit away from your bed. So instead of having your first skin-to-skin moments with your baby, you may have to wait.
  • It offers limited relief. It wont completely take the pain away like an epidural would.
  • Feeling nauseous or being sick (in this case you would likely be offered a drug to help with the sickness)
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Vertigo
  • Restlessness
  • Itchiness
  • Heart palpitations or hot flushes
  • You may also find your vision is disturbed
  • Some women find they dont remember the baby being born because of the lsquo;out-of-it state morphine can induce

The Effects Of Morphine: Labour Pain Relief Explained

Give Me Everything! The Pros and Cons Of Labour Pain Relief

Whether you visualise having a drug-free water birth or are ready to sign up for every drug you can get your hands on, knowing all about what pain-relief options are available will help you make the right choice in labour

The Effects Of Morphine: Labour Pain Relief Explained

Pethidines a pain killer with a bad rep. But with many maternity still using it, and being clever about when they give it, you could find it works for you

The Effects Of Morphine: Labour Pain Relief Explained

Give Me The Strongest Thing Youve Got: The Epidural

An epidural will give you strong pain relief but could mean that you wont feel anything at all

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