Before we are handed the tiny love of our life in a pastel striped blanket (yes, all Australians hospitals seem to use the same striped blanket), we all know that there is the unknown of labour awaiting us.

As much as we want to try avoiding thinking about the delivery room, being prepared and knowing our options is what can make the experience less traumatic. There are a variety of pain management options available that may be worthy of consideration when preparing your birthing plan, including non-medical techniques and medical pain relief options.

Besides nitrous oxide, pethidine and epidural anaesthesia, the ABC recently reported that trials have begun of a nasal spray with the pain killer drug Fentanyl, which can be used during childbirth. Trialled at the Gawler Hospital, the nasal spray might soon be available as an alternative to the pethidine injection.

Regardless of which pain relief drug (if any) you opt for, drug-free pain management techniques should also feature in your preparations. In addition to breathing techniques, music, hot/cold packs and hypnosis (yes really!), an ElleTens Plus device can assist with combating pains before, during and after labour.

Having a conversation with your doctor, midwife and other mothers will give you an insight into the diverse range of methods adopted and their effectiveness.

Good luck!

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