Pain Management Options for Childbirth at Sky Ridge Medical Center

At Sky Ridge, we encourage that you enter labor with an open mind. Here are medical, as well as natural pain relief options for you to consider.

Laboring Woman Stretching on Exercise BallMedical Pain Relief Methods

Spinal Anesthesia

Used for scheduled C-sections, anesthetic and pain killer are injected through the dura (membrane surrounding the spinal cord).

  • Pros: Best anesthesia; does not transfer to the baby.
  • Cons: Time limited.

Local Anesthesia

Used for relieving pain during the pushing phase or tear repair, anesthetic is injected directly into the affected region.

  • Pros: Immediate, localized relief.
  • Cons: Does not help with labor pain.


Used for blocking labor pain, a tube provides anesthetic and pain killer around the dura via an IV drip.

  • Pros: Provides continuous relief. Can be patient-controlled for desired level of medicine. Does not transfer to the baby.
  • Cons: If given too early, can increase chance of C-section. Can affect recovery.


Used for relieving anxiety and pain of contractions; drugs are given via injection or IV.

  • Pros: Provides short-acting pain relief. Good for women in fast labor.
  • Cons: Goes directly to baby. Only partial relief. Can affect cognition, interfering with performing natural pain-relieving methods.

Natural Pain Relief Methods

When it comes to pain relief attempts, labor and delivery nurses have seen it all. Our nurse manager for Women’s Services, Tiffany Hanson, offers a snapshot of the natural methods she has seen used:


Gentle pressure, applied by a trained specialist on certain points of the hands, feet and ears believed to correspond to specific organs or structures of the body, can relieve pain.


Some essential plant oils (such as lavender) can alleviate anxiety, decrease tension and improve mood.


Music and sounds of nature can provide a distraction and point of focus, reducing pain perception.


By immersing themselves in a warm bath during the first stage of labor, women can reduce blood pressure and the pain of contractions.


Providing a gentle touch can reduce blood pressure, create a distraction, release muscle tension and decrease pain.

Guided Imagery

By visualizing a pleasant experience or place, women can relax and divert focus from pain. Support people can create visions with simple, soothing statements.