How It's Given
A drug is injected into a muscle or run through an IV into a vein. Injected shots must be repeated every hour or so.
What It Does
Takes the edge off pain but does not alleviate it as well as a regional block would. (Still, some women find this method less frightening than a needle in the back).
Things to Consider
- Can make the mother groggy, sleepy, or nauseated.
- Because the drugs cross the placenta, they can make the baby groggy, depress her breathing, and delay her ability to latch on after birth.
- The mother may experience breakthrough pain during contractions.
Copyright © 2002 Alice Lesch Kelly. Reprinted with permission from the September 2002 issue of Parents magazine; 9/02