Coping with Pain in Labour
Coping with Pain in Labour
Pain in labour is something that all pregnant women think about at some stage, what it will be like and definitely, how will they cope with it. For some women wondering about the pain in labout can be terrifying and their instan thought is to have some kind of pharmaceutical pain relief as soon as possible.
In this essay I am going to discuss coping with pain in labour. I will discuss the physiology of pain, how it is classified physiologically, the pathways used and how the body percieves pain. I am going to discuss some different ways of managing pain that are ...view middle of the document...
Pain fibres are small afferent fibres that carry fast or slow impulses.
There is a chemical call Bradykinin, which is released from damaged tissue that seems to act as a universal pain stimulus, which then releases inflammatory chemical like histamine and prostaglandin, (Stables, Rankin, 2005). These chemicals stimulate the nociceptors to transmit pain impulses. Because nociceptors are more sensitive with increased stimulation some types of injuries can cause continuous pain, although stimulating the nociceptors is not enough to actualy cause pain, the impulses transmitted must first reach the brain and be interpreted as pain.
There are different regions of the brain that percieve pain. The thalamus interprets fast pain, the limbic system interprets slow pain, the frontal lobe controls rationalisation and response to pain and the hypothalamus acts as the emotional centre. Tha thalamus and cerbral cortex percieve the fast and slow impulses of stimuli differently, fast pain sensation is sharp and localised and stimulates a withdrawl reflex, these sensations are followed by slower pain. Slow pain sensation is dull, aching throbing or burning, it is diffuse and is associated with increased contraction of smooth muscles of viscera.
Pain can be classified as “somatic” or”visceral”, (Stables, Rankin, 2005)
You can have deep or superficial somatic pain and it arises form skin, muscles or joints. Superficial pain is characterised by localised brief, sharp or pricking sensations, deep pain is burnign or aching, longer lasting and indicates tissue destruction. Visceralk pain arises from organs of the body cavaties, it is burning, growing or aching pain. Labour pain is visceral and dilatation and stretching of the cervix, the pressure of the presenting part on the cervix, vagina, vulva or perineum in labour is somatic pain.
We have certain physiological responses to pain, pain activates the sympathetic nervous system, which causes the flight or fight response. Also the reflex withdrawl which is stimulated by cutaneous stimulation, muscle guarding where the skeletal muscles tighten and the release of endogenous opoids (endorphins, dynorphins, enkephalins), endorphines increase the threshold ofor pain and induce feelings of euphoria, which can/may make the pain of labour more tolerable.
Pain in labour is complex, it has been identified that suppoert for coping with labour pain and having access for different ways of relieving or reducing pain is important ot women, (Pairman, S, Pincomb, J, Thorogood, C, Tracy, S, 2006).
There are a number of ways to cope with the pain opf labour without the use of pharmaceutical means, the TENS – transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, is a non-invasive means of pain relief. “TENS is a small device that delivers a low intensity electrical charge across the skin”, (de Ferrer, G, British Journal of Midwifery, 2006). It is claimed that the electrical charges from the TENS device prevents...