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Managing Labor Pain

Each woman withstands the stress and pain of labor in her own way. As your labor moves along, nurses will support and coach you and your partner. Options like these will be offered:

  • Hydrotherapy in a tub or shower
  • Walking
  • Rocking
  • Use of a birth ball
  • Massage
  • Essential oils
  • Changing position to help your baby move down
  • Soft music
  • Dim lighting
  • Techniques to help you relax and breathe

Pain control

The nursing staff will offer continuous labor support and encourage a variety of comfort measures. They will assist you in changing positions since changing positions helps the baby find the best way to fit through your pelvis. They will guide you and coach you in various relaxation and breathing techniques.

Intravenous (IV) medications and nitrous oxide are available for pain relief. These medications may take the "edge" off of the pain and allow you to rest better between contractions.


Our board certified anesthesiologists are available 24/7 for consultation and providing epidurals for women in labor. The medications used in a labor epidural control your pain by numbing your lower body, including your legs, which may limit your mobility. You will receive fluids through an IV and need to remain in bed while you have an epidural. Sometimes women are unable to pass their urine and may need a catheter to help empty the bladder. The risks of having a labor epidural are relatively infrequent and mild. Any questions you have regarding the risks of having an epidural placed can be discussed with your anesthesiologist prior to placement or with your OB provider during your pre-natal visits.

How your partner can help

  • Encourage you with words like "good job" and "that's right."
  • Help you relax and conserve energy. Stay with you. Walk with you and distract you.
  • Be aware of how often contractions are coming and how you are coping. Try touch relaxation and massage.
Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System delivers great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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