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Home > Living Well > Health Library > Childbirth: Opioid Pain Medicines
To help control the pain and stress of labor, you may get opioid pain medicines. The medicine can be put into a vein or into the muscle. Examples include fentanyl, morphine, and nalbuphine.
Opioids can help suppress how you perceive pain and calm your emotional response to pain. They do this by reducing the number of pain signals sent by the nervous system to the brain. They also reduce the brain's reaction to those pain signals.
An opioid can help you relax between contractions and may help decrease the pain. But it doesn't take all the pain away. And opioids often have side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness. Usually, opioids aren't used right before delivery because they can slow the baby's breathing.
The most common side effects of opioids include:
Opioids aren't used when you are close to delivery. That's because they can affect a newborn's breathing. They can also make the baby sleepy and less interested in breastfeeding if they are given close to delivery.
Current as of:
February 23, 2022
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineJohn M. Freedman MD - Anesthesiology
Current as of: February 23, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & John M. Freedman MD - Anesthesiology
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