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The University of Chicago Medicine - The Family Birth Center

Labor Pain Management

Most women experience some pain or discomfort during labor and delivery. The intensity can vary significantly from woman to woman, and even from birth to birth. The good news is that your pain does not have to be unbearable.

At the Family Birth Center, we offer a spectrum of pain management options to accommodate your health needs and preferences. Our priorities are to honor what's important to you, and most of all — what's safe for you and your baby.

Natural and Drug-Free Labor Pain Management

If you envision the most natural birth experience possible, our team can support you with expertise in unmedicated pain management options and alternatives to epidural and spinal anesthesia.

Epidural Labor Pain Relief

If you want or need epidural pain management, our experts offer specialized dosing that can be adjusted to provide effective pain relief while still allowing some mobility.

Pain Relief for Cesarean Deliveries (C-Sections)

Should you need a cesarean delivery, our anesthesiology team provides compassionate care to maximize family participation in the birth experience. Most women remain awake through delivery with regional (epidural or spinal) anesthesia for pain relief. Our experts only administer general anesthesia in circumstances when it's the safest option for mother or baby.

In most cases, a family member attends cesarean deliveries. When possible, we even encourage immediate baby bonding after C-section, such as skin-to-skin in the operating room and early breastfeeding.

Considering Your Pain Management Options

There are no standard pain management plans at the Family Birth Center. Our team will create a pain management strategy for you based on your health, your baby's health, and your preferences.

Questions to consider and discuss with your doctor or midwife when thinking about your pain management options include:

  • Which pain management options would be healthiest for my baby and me?
  • Would I prefer to avoid or minimize medication during childbirth, if possible?
  • Under what circumstances would I choose to take pain medication during labor and delivery?
  • Are there certain types of pain management that I'm more or less willing to use?