Pain relief during labour

When your baby is ready to be born, you have a few options for pain relief.


Water is fantastic for pain relief and it’ll help you relax during labour.

You can choose to have a water birth in one of our large birthing pools which are available in our birth centre.

Sometimes sitting in water can make you less likely to want an epidural, so it’s great for mums who don’t plan to have one.

A water birth will help keep you upright, which will help your baby come down into the pelvis slightly faster, and can help to open your cervix.

It’s completely safe for you and your baby, and can be used with Entonox, also known as gas and air.

Gas and air

Gas and air is taken through a mouth piece connected to a breathing tube.

When you start to feel a contraction, you take long, rhythmic breaths in and out, during the whole contraction.

Gas and air is safe for you and your baby, and it only takes 15 to 20 seconds to start working.


If none of these methods work for you, we’ll recommend an anaesthetic called an epidural.

An anaesthetist will talk to you about the risks and benefits first. For example, the epidural can cause low blood pressure.

We’ll closely monitor you and your baby during labour to make sure you're both doing well.

How we give an epidural

You can only have an epidural on the labour ward or delivery suite because of the way it’s given:

  • we’ll ask you to sit and bend forwards
  • an anaesthetist will clean your back
  • they’ll inject the anaesthetic into your back to numb the area

The epidural tube is kept in during labour so your midwife can top up your pain relief.