Many women dislike the idea of being drugged during labor--after all, you've waited 9 months for your delivery date, and you don't want to be in a total fog during these life-changing moments. However, you may also be afraid of the pain you may feel. The good news is that anesthesia has come a long way since the medical practices of the 1950s, when women were typically drugged into unconsciousness during labor and babies showed the effects of medication for many hours after birth. Now drugs can be administered locally and in smaller doses with little impact on the baby. While natural childbirth is often best for moms and their babies, anesthesia is a good choice if your pain--or your fear of it--impedes your labor from progressing because you're hyperventilating, exhausted, or suffering from other stress reactions.
Opioids. Opioids don't completely remove the pain, but they do dull it considerably. Unfortunately you may also feel very groggy as a result, and so could your baby. Short-acting opioids are usually given intravenously (IV) or intramuscularly (IM).