During childbirth, you have the choice of various pain medications. Below you will find an overview of the different pain medications you can use during childbirth.


The pump of Remifentanil works quickly, often after a few minutes and numbs the pain as good as Pethidine. After the birth the Remifentanil will go out of your system easily, however it can affect your breathing and the amount of oxygen in your blood. This is why you and your baby need to be carefully monitored when using this painkiller during labor. It is also unknown what the effect is on breastfeeding.


Most women experience less pain after an epidural and this usually works better than ethidine or Remifentanil. An epidural does not make you sleepy or drowsy and you will be fully (mentally) present for the birth. It does have some negative side effects that we would like to mention:


  • Sometimes, with 5 to 10 of 100 women, an epidural does not work properly and has to be done again

  • The pushing phase takes longer, which makes the use of a vacuum pump or suction cup for the baby more likely.

  • There is also an increased risk for a c-section.

  • The contractions are less strong, so there are some added medications necessary to make them stronger again.

  • You will need an IV with fluids, because it adds to low blood pressure.

  • You cannot stand on your legs, but this will return slowly after we stop giving you the medication. In case of a low dosage it is more likely that you can walk or stand a little.

  • You can experience more issues with urination, because the sedation will make the area feel numb. It can also feel like you don’t know whether you need to urinate or not. Sometimes you will get a blatter catheter to control the urination and this will be removed after giving birth.

  • Your body temperature can rise after the epidural causing fever. It is hard o tell whether it is fever because of an infection or because of the epidural. You will be given an antibiotic just to be sure and the baby needs to get tested after birth and given an antibiotic as well.

  • You can experience some itching due to the medication.

  • You can experience head ache, because the epidural causes a little hole in the brain which will leak some brain fluid. We can treat this with additional medication.