Skip to Content
Rush-Copley Medical Group
Home > Health & Fitness > Healthwise > Childbirth: Opioid Pain Medicines
To help control labor pain and stress, an injection of pain
medicine can be given into a vein (intravenous) or into the muscle
(intramuscular). The most common pain medicines used are
opioids. Opioids are also known as narcotics. Examples
of opioids include fentanyl, morphine, and
Opioid analgesics suppress your perception of pain and calm your emotional response to pain by reducing the number of pain signals sent by the nervous system and the brain's reaction to those pain signals.
An opioid can help you relax between contractions and decrease the
pain but does not take the pain away completely. Opioids make you drowsy for a
short time and can slow your labor. But opioids are less likely than
epidural anesthesia to cause you to have a forceps or
vacuum delivery.footnote 1
The most common side effects of opioids include:
Opioids are not used when you are close to delivery, because they can
affect a newborn's breathing. They can also make
the baby sleepy and less interested in breast-feeding if they are given close to delivery.
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
Cunningham FG, et al. (2010). Forceps delivery and
vacuum extraction. In Williams Obstetrics, 23rd ed., pp.
511–526. New York: McGraw-Hill.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofJune 4, 2014
Current as of:
June 4, 2014
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Retrieving newsletters from the Web service...
Sorry, the newsletter Web service is unavailable at this time.
You have signed up for the selected newsletters.
© Copyright 2015 Rush-Copley Medical Center • 2000 Ogden Avenue; Aurora, IL 60504
Main: 630-978-6200 • Physician Referral & Information: 630-978-6700 or 866-4COPLEY (866-426-7539)