OPI­OIDS

Mother & Baby (UK) - - BUMP & BIRTH -

Pethi­dine, di­amor­phine, mep­tid and remifen­tanil might sound like the Four Horse­women of the Apoc­a­lypse but, for some women, they are knights in shin­ing ar­mour. All four drugs are opi­oids, and they work, not by ac­tu­ally numb­ing any of your pain re­cep­tors, but sim­ply by mak­ing you feel ‘out of it’ so that you don’t ex­pe­ri­ence the pain in the same way. Pethi­dine, di­amor­phine and mep­tid are ad­min­is­tered via in­jec­tion in the thigh, and in some cases can be pre­scribed in ad­vance for a home birth. Remifen­tanil comes via an in­fu­sion that can only be given by an anaes­thetist, so you can’t have it at home or in a mid­wife-led unit. One ad­van­tage of opi­oids is that you can get some rest if your labour is long, but be aware that all cross the pla­centa and, the nearer to de­liv­ery you are given them, the more likely you are to no­tice an ef­fect in your baby – he may be drowsy, slower to breathe, and breast­feed­ing may be harder to es­tab­lish.

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