Pain relief during the early stages of labour

At the beginning of labour you might feel contractions or surges every ten or fifteen minutes. We call this first stage the latent phase.

Relax with a bath, shower, or massage

Firstly, try to relax. Breathing exercises, a warm bath or shower, or even a massage can help you relax at home.

But otherwise try and remain active and upright during the latent phase. It’ll help your baby move down the pelvis, ready to be born.

Remember to eat regularly and drink plenty of water for energy.

You can also take paracetamol if you like, as it’s safe to take during pregnancy.

TENS machine

A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or a TENS machine, might give you pain relief when contractions become more frequent and feel stronger.

It uses mild electrical impulses to stimulate the nerves in your spinal cord to block the feeling of pain.

A TENS machine can also be a good distraction and keep you focused, but don’t use it in water.

You can buy a TENS machine online, but make sure it’s from a trusted seller. You can ask your midwife for more information.


Whether you’re having a home or hospital birth, your midwife can give you Pethidine for pain relief.

Pethidine is an injection which goes into the thigh.

Lots of women choose to try Pethidine for pain relief because it makes you feel relaxed and can help you rest or sleep.

It can last for two to four hours so you can get plenty of rest.

We can give you anti-sickness medication to prevent you from feeling unwell, too.

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