Pregnancy Pain Management
I'm So Happy, Ouch
Pregnancy is a time of joy, excitement, anticipation, and-in many cases-a time when a woman experiences all sorts of pains. As her body grows and changes, the stretching and readjusting of organs, muscles, ligaments, and bones brings along a new set of unfamiliar pain. Add to that the fact that many women experience pregnancy migraines and other types of pregnancy related pains, and it is easy to understand why it is so important to help women manage and deal with pain properly during pregnancy.
Managing Chronic Pain
Depending upon the type of pain a woman is experiencing, pain management during pregnancy is something that should be handled between the woman and her doctor. Outside of pregnancy, many women suffer with chronic and persistent pain and depend upon medication to enable them to function from day to day. The management of chronic pain during pregnancy must be handled differently since there is a chance the unborn baby will be affected by the drugs. Knowing which drugs are safe to take and which are not is key to chronic pain management.
Managing The Common Aches And Pains
Unless there is a history of chronic pain in a woman's background, the pain she is likely to experience during her pregnancy is peculiar to the situation. That means that such things as back pain, headaches, abdominal pains, and of course, labor pains, are the types of pain she'll be dealing with. The most common types of pregnancy pain medications are over-the-counter products used primarily for the relief of headaches, indigestion, and constipation. It is estimated that over 80% of pregnant women take OTC or prescription drugs during their pregnancies and most of them consult with their physician before taking any type of pregnancy pain medicine.
Medical Community Caution
In the early 1970s the medical community changed their stance when it came to the use of pain medication for chronic pain or pregnancy pain and discomforts in any form. The change came as a result of the effects of thalidomide and diethylstilbestrol, given to pregnant women to help them with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. These drugs proved to be the source of major birth defects in babies born to mothers who took them. The net result is that the USFDA (Federal Drug Administration) assigned pregnancy risk factors to all drugs used in the US. The downside is that today there are many drugs on the market that have not been properly researched during pregnancy and their effects remain unknown.
Non-Medical Pain Management
There are methods outside of drugs to help a pregnant woman manage pain. Food elimination in the case of stomach problems and headaches can expose potential triggers for migraines and indigestion. The choice to relieve pain by natural means is taking root and the use of massage, chiropractic, exercise, diet, water therapy, and good old hot or cold compresses, are methods that are gaining in popularity among pregnant women. No woman wants to put her unborn baby at risk.
Dealing With The BIG Pain-Labor
It does remain that most women in the US choose some form of labor pain medication to help them cope during delivery. The most frequent is the epidural. Many women plan ahead with their doctor to have pain medication, and some women decide against it only to change their minds during labor because it turns out to be something other than what they anticipated. The fact is that no woman can determine what kind of pain she'll have during labor. Even though many women are able to manage their labor pain through breathing and relaxation, many are unable to do so. The primary thing is to be open to what potentially may be needed and have a Plan B. The time to decide about labor medication is during the initial stages of labor. By the time a woman is in the pushing stage it's too late to administer labor pain medication.
Abortion Pain Management
In the case of a decision to abort a pregnancy, pain management is also necessary. Most surgical abortions are conducted using local anesthesia as the form of abortion pain management. A procedure known as intraoperative paracervical block is used after an initial administration of ibuprofen given before the operation. If there is a need for pain medication afterward, then the doctor may issue a prescription.
Pain is part of pregnancy for most women. Knowing that is half the battle. Becoming familiar with non-medicinal ways to deal with the pain is the best tactic, however, if the pregnancy pain is chronic and severe, pain management strategies planned in cooperation with the doctor is the way to go.