Pain relief in labour

There are various options that can help you cope with the pain of childbirth, ranging from preparation through to epidural anaesthesia.

Prenatal classes – A good preparation with a midwife or physiotherapist (“Kiné”) gives a better understanding of labour and delivery. This knowledge helps decrease the anxiety associated with the ‘unknown’ and enables you to cope better with the pain.

TENS Machine – This is a device that sends electrical impulses to the muscles of your back that help decrease your pain. It is especially useful in the early stages of labour. TENS machines can be rented from a variety of sources. Please ask about this in your prenatal classes.

Warm bath – baths are available in 5 of the 11 birthing rooms at Delta Hospital and you are encouraged to use it for pain relief during the first stage of labour. You will be advised to get out of the water when fully dilated and not to deliver in the water.

Birth balls – these are available in every room and help maintain a flexible upright position, especially in early labour, to help the baby engage in the pelvis in a good position.

Gas and air‘ – Nitrous oxide or ‘laughing gas’ is available to use in labour at Delta Hospital. We are one of the only hospitals in Brussels to offer this. The gas is breathed in through a special demand valve and is particularly useful for women want to achieve a vaginal birth without an epidural who need pain relief at the end of the first stage of labour (eg: at 7-8cm dilation, the ‘transition’ phase).

Pudendal nerve block / local anaesthetic – Various local techniques can be used at the end of labour to help cope with the vaginal pain during the delivery of the baby.

Epidural – this remains the best pain relief for labour and is very popular in Belgium with around 90% of patients at Delta delivering with this method of pain relief. We have 24h cover of experienced anaesthetists. Modern epidurals do not increase the caesarean section rate and enable you to feel the process of giving birth with little or no pain.