Pain Management

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​At UW Medicine, we understand that pain control is an important part of your care. Your childbirth experience is unique—including your experience with labor pain—and we can help you find the most effective method to get the relief you desire. Our caring staff encourages and supports you every step of the way to help you feel as nurtured and relaxed as possible.

Managing Pain during Labor and Delivery

During all stages of labor, keeping your mind focused and your body relaxed may reduce pain and help you to maintain a sense of calm. We offer a wide variety of non-medicated comfort measures​. Techniques include using visualization, music, voice and touch to focus attention; massage; physical activities such as walking or sitting on a birth ball; and mental activities such as patterned breathing and guided imagery.

If non-medicated comfort measures are not enough to help you manage your pain, we offer both analgesic and anesthetic pain medications.

Analgesics lessen pain without a total loss of feeling or muscle function, and can raise your threshold for pain tolerance. Analgesics are usually delivered as a shot or through an IV (a small tube placed into a vein) and can be given more than once until the later stages of labor (when you are pushing or delivery is near).

Anesthetics are medicines that produce a loss of sensation and muscle strength, and block pain. Regional anesthetics are used to numb a particular area (or “region”) of the body.

All medicines have benefits and risks to you and your baby, so talk with your provider about the best option for you. Some of the most common options for relieving pain during labor are shared below.


Your comfort and experience are important to us. We look forward to partnering with you throughout your labor and delivery to help you find the best pain management option.​