Written by

Katy Link - Associate, Chartered Legal Executive

Childbirth should be an exciting experience for all concerned, not a punishment says Katy Link.

Katy, who has successfully represented more than 20 women in medical negligence cases, is responding to allegations that ‘some women are being denied pain relieving injections during childbirth.’

She said:

“Childbirth is a time when you are at your most vulnerable, regardless if it is your first, second or third birth.

“As both a lawyer and a mother, I welcome the investigation into withholding pain-relieving injections without a valid medical reason to do so.”

Current NHS guidelines instruct women in labour can ask for pain relief ‘at any time.’

However, critics have been quick to point out there may be a disparity in how information to support pregnancy pain relief is communicated.

Existing options for pregnancy and pain relief:

Epidural blocks:

An injection into the base of the spine. Usually effective, but to must be given by an anaesthetist in an obstetric unit. In addition, they can lead to a drop-in blood pressure (up to 14% of women.) Consequently, close monitoring is important.

Gas and air:

A blend of oxygen and nitrous oxide gas. This technique won’t completely remove pain, but it will stem the feeling. Many women prefer this method as it’s easy to use and they control it themselves.

Water birth:

The NHS advises water can assist in relaxing the mother and contractions being less painful. Water to be a comfortable temperature, but not above 37.5C.

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock has since promised to investigate after stating ‘women being denied pain relief is wrong.’

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