Pain Relief in Labour

Public Awareness – PAIN RELIEF IN LABOUR
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Dr.G.L.Ravindra (M.D,D.A)
Professor and Head, Department of Anaesthesiology
Shimoga Institute of Medical Sciences
Shimoga, KARNATAKA
E-mail: glravindra@yahoo.com

Superficially Obstetric Anaesthesia appears to be a simple field with a limited range of interest but it is a deceptively demanding specialty. Not only are two patients involved in each anaesthetic administration, but also the dynamic events of normal labour require that the muscles concerned with delivery retain their power and coordination to the full.

Ahh…Ohh…What a pain is this? Why is nobody caring for me? – The lady in the labour room was shouting with pain. But, the people outside the labour room were not at all worried. They were only worried about the overall welfare of the lady and the baby.

The times have changed now. There are techniques available which can relieve the labour pains effectively without any serious complications. Labour pains are physiological. It is present in all animals, hence is an accepted eventuality after pregnancy. According to our textbooks of physiology Pain is an Essential Enemy, Whenever we step on a thorn we by reflex, withdraw form the stimulus. Thus pain warns us against inherent dangers of a painful incident. Hence it can be termed as a protective phenomenon.

Fortunately labour pains do not have any physiological significance other than warning the woman of the onset of labour forcing the mother to move to a protective environment. Hence, relief of labour pains does not come in the way of any physiological phenomenon

HISTORY
It is the history of the entire universe which is also the history of labour pains. It is natures creation. From time immemorial, man is trying to get a good control over labour pains. In the ancient literatures of India and Greece there is sufficient evidence to say that there were efforts to control labour pains and give the labouring mother the due comfort.
Thanks to WTG Morton, who on 16th October, 1846, introduced Ether to clinical anaesthesia, a well developed specialty Anaesthesiology is in existence for over one and a half centuries now. Later it was James Young Simpson in early 1847 who used Ether in the control of labour pains. For the next few years, there were a lot of ethical, moral and religious concerns over the control of labour pains. But, Queen Victoria asked for labour analgesia in 1854 and Simpson administered chloroform on her, during the birth of her eighth child, Prince Leopold. She had perfect pain relief and described it as a boon to womanhood. Later, in the very next year she again asked for labour analgesia during the birth of her ninth child and thus labour analgesia got a Royal Stamp.
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Posted in Knowledge Desk, Pain Relief In Labour, PUBLIC AWARENESS

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