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Are you pregnant? Get the facts on pain management at Waikato Hospital

Pain is a normal part of the labour process and being informed about how to best manage this and the pain relief options available is so important.

To help pregnant women do this, anaesthetic registrar Dr Caroline Ariaens is providing FREE information evenings at Waikato Hospital, every three months, to complement the information provided by midwives and in antenatal classes.

Fiona and Otis

Fiona and her son Otis. Photo credit: LaceyCee Photography.

The evening provides information about a range of non-medical and medical ways to manage pain and includes discussing (almost) everything women need to know about epidurals.

Dr Ariaens says it was the birth of her first child that spurred the idea of this seminar, which is similar to sessions that are run in Auckland and Tauranga.

“At our evenings we explain the facts about what an epidural is, demonstrate how it’s performed and give pregnant women and their partners the opportunity to ask our team questions in preparation for labour, not during,” Dr Ariaens says. “Women will also get a chance to have a tour through our delivery suite.

“I had an epidural with my first baby, and as a doctor I could easily make the decision that was right for me given my profession and knowledge. But most mums aren’t in my shoes and it got me thinking that we need to provide more education to women to allow them to make the right choice during labour.

“By the time some women in labour get to see us [anaesthetists] in hospital – they are tired and exhausted. By the time they want an epidural, it is often difficult for them to process the information we give them and ask questions that are important to them. All pain relief, at any point of labour and birth should have informed consent.”

Hamilton woman Fiona Morgan attended one of the seminars saying: “Being pregnant for the first time is daunting enough without even factoring in labour and birthing.

“I jumped at the chance to attend the information evening to hear more about my pain relief options. I’d been learning more about it with my midwife, but not in this detail.

“Having the opportunity to hear information directly from an anaesthetist was invaluable. All options were discussed at length – and I never felt that one option was emphasised more than others. It was a relaxed and supportive environment, people asked questions and had the option to stay behind afterwards to chat in private to the hospital midwife or two anaesthetists.

“I truly believe that when my baby was born via emergency c section a couple of months later – I was more calm knowing what the procedure entailed, together with being supported by the fantastic team in theatre who safely delivered my baby,” says Fiona.

Dr Ariaens states the evenings are not designed to replace antenatal classes and they do not promote epidurals.  However, there are consultants and midwives available to educate and answer questions on pain relief to give people the confidence to make the best and most informed decision they can during the birth process.

More about the next Waikato Labour Pain Relief Information Evening

When: Wednesday 6 June 2018 at 7pm

Where: Anaesthetic Department, Waikato Hospital

The session is available to all pregnant women in Waikato and is designed to complement the information that is provided by their midwife and at antenatal classes. Women are welcome to bring their partner or support person.

If you are interested, please email anaesthesia.waikato@gmail.com so we can register your interest and provide you with more information.  You can also visit our Facebook page to see the details about the evenings:  Facebook page Labour pain relief information evening

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