Pain relief in labour: effects on the neonate

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Abstract

The midwife's role is to provide women-centred care, working with women to support them in making informed choices for labour and birth. The management of pain in labour is considered to be a key part of the midwife's role. This can be via a pharmacological or non-pharmacological route, or a combination of the two. An area which is frequently neglected in the literature is a full appreciation of the effects of pain management techniques on the neonate at the point of, immediately after, and in the hours/days following birth. This area has historically been under-researched and undervalued. This review will consider the available research on the topic, and assess the gaps that currently prevent informed holistic care.

Keywords: labour, neonate, pain management, intrapartum

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