Many people surprise themselves by going above and beyond when they give birth. Childbirth is an exceptional, energy-sapping situation in which you also have to overcome severe pain until your baby sees the light of day. Anxiety and cramping can exacerbate this pain. People who are giving birth for the first time are often especially insecure. Childbirth preparation courses can help you reduce anxiety and learn relaxation exercises. In the group and guided by a midwife, you can talk openly about your fears, how to deal with pain and how to manage it. You may still feel like you can't take it anymore during the birth. This is normal. But in those moments, you don't have to lose hope. If you think it's getting to be too much, there are several options open to you to relieve the pain with medication as well.

The pain you feel during childbirth is nothing like any other pain. Every person perceives pain differently. The uterus will contract and relax again during labour. This opens the cervix and the baby is pushed down. The pain is caused by the organs being stretched. Your body helps you during birth by releasing hormones. They make the pain more bearable. There are usually pauses in labour that give you a chance to rest a little. Trust in your own strength. Try to consciously relax during these pauses and let people around you support you.

Besides breathing exercises and changing birthing postures, there are other methods that can help you better endure the pain. Anything that helps you calm down, relax, or relieve anxiety will make your pain more bearable. Sometimes even a warm bath, a footbath or a hot water bottle can provide a little relief. It might also help you if your partner massages your back or tailbone. Many midwives offer acupuncture or reflexology to make your birth more comfortable. Especially in the opening phase at the beginning of birth, these gentle methods can help. If the pain is too severe, ask your midwife and doctor about other possible treatments.

When natural methods of pain relief aren’t effective, medication can also be used. Antispasmodic medications are often used for this purpose. These are antispasmodic and pain-relieving drugs that are supposed to relax the cervix and are not dangerous for the baby. You can get it as a tablet or a suppository. If these drugs are not enough, doctors can also administer stronger painkillers, so-called opiates, in the form of a tablet or as an injection. These agents have a very strong effect against pain. However, they also make you sleepy and sometimes listless. This can become a problem when it’s time to push. It can also make the baby sleepy. In severe cases, the child may experience respiratory paralysis. For this reason, these remedies are only used in Germany when other drugs or methods cannot help.

An intensive type of pain treatment with medication is local anaesthesia with the help of a syringe into the spinal cord or near the ischial tuberosities. The most frequently used procedure is called an epidural, (PDA for short in German). It is now used in about one in four births. For an epidural, your doctor will insert a small tube into your spine through a special syringe. This will give you an anesthetic. Depending on the amount of the drug, you may feel less pain or no pain at all below the injection site. It is best to give an epidural at the beginning of labour, as soon as the cervix is dilated. As the pain subsides, your muscles relax. This makes the birth easier. Another advantage is that with an epidural you are fully conscious and witness the birth. Even if a c-section becomes necessary, doctors usually use an epidural. Another option is spinal anaesthesia. This involves injecting a thinner syringe a little deeper directly into the spinal cord. This usually eliminates all sensation below the injection point. A tube may also be placed so that painkillers can be given again after some time. Spinal anaesthesia works almost immediately. With a pudendal anaesthesia, a pain-relieving medication is injected on the left and right side of the ischial tuberosity, part of the lower back. This reduces perineal, vaginal and pelvic pain.