Induction and pain relief: Hello I've been advised to... - NCT


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Induction and pain relief


Hello I've been advised to have an induction at 39 weeks because I'm 40. Please could anyone advise me what pain relief they went for with induction and how it went? Thanks very much.

41 Replies

Hi I had an induction. I initially had a pessary inserted for 24 hours to soften my cervix and potentially start of labour. That was uncomfortable, and I had a tens machine and some paracetamol overnight.on the ward and rolled on an exercise ball.

In the morning I had my waters broken and for that I used gas and air. That was again uncomfortable and I was sore from the pessary but gas and air was fine.

When I had the drip inserted to start the labour my contractions were very painful and not regular and I was not dilated enough to push so I asked for an epidural. It was great as it took all the pain away and I was able to relax until I was dilated enough to push which took about 8 hours. There's no way I could have coped with the pain of the contractions for that long on just gas and air and still had any energy left to push.

I was able to rest and even has a nap in the afternoon. When I was dilated they didn't top me up with anymore epidural and I started to be able to feel my contractions and that helped me know when to push and follow what the midwives were saying.

After lots of pushing and a threat of intervention I managed to push her out with only a minimal tear and a graze, no stitching required. I held her immediately, skin to skin and she was suckling within the hour on breast. We had to stay in for 24 hours as I had gestational diabetes and they needed to check her for low blood sugar and I had to have my anti D injection. She only had 1 low blood sugar reading and they let us out before the 24 hours were up as we were doing OK. I know there is lots of horror stories about induction and epidurals, but my experience was mainly really good, I would have liked the epidural sooner as the contractions were awful at the start and I felt a bit sick with the hormone and fluid drips in.

Best of luck 🍀😁❤️

Samcz in reply to Seb9

Hello thanks for your reply it's really helpful and reassuring and sounds like you had a positive experience. It's good to hear it sounds like I'll still be able to use the tens machine I've already hired. Did you have a choice of having the pessary at home? I also have gestational diabetes so wondered if I would have to stay in. I am a bit nervous about having an epidural but it sounds like it's the best option. Were you able to eat and drink throughout and once you had the epidural did you have to have a catheter and were restricted to bed? Many thanks. Sam

Seb9 in reply to Samcz

Our hospital is about an hour and a bit away from where I live so I couldn't have the pessary and go home, I think it's possible in some places if you live nearby, it's probably something your midwife can advise you about.

I couldn't eat or drink after the epidural but I had breakfast and some food before I had the epidural and water, but they didn't let me eat after the epidural, but I wasn't hungry,they have me tea and today after baby arrives and it was amazing.

In terms of moving round, I had a band on my leg, holding a monitor onto babies head, a band on my belly to monitor contractions, a cannula in my arm attached to the hormone and fluid drips! Moving was not fun!! Before the epidural I was bouncing on a ball with the gas and air, and all these contraptions and cables everywhere. When the anaesthetist came to do the epidural, it was hard work to get back to the bed to get in position.

It was nice street all that to have a lie down 😂.

The epidural has a catheter left on so they can to you up if they need to without having to give you another injection so I had that but I didn't have a urinary catheter.

It did mean I couldn't walk round but I don't think I really wanted to, I just wanted to nap and rest, which I was able to do.

I didn't have the epidural topped up once I was dilated and my contractions were regular, which meant I could feel them for the actual pushing and was able to get up fairly quickly after baby arrives without feeling too bad. I read up a lot about the induction process and did an NCT course too which I found really helpful.

Samcz in reply to Seb9

Hello thanks for your helpful reply. It's good to hear what it's like. Did you find having the epidural put in painful? I'm worried I might move when they put it in!

Seb9 in reply to Samcz

Looking back on it, it was hilarious and I laugh about it. At the time not so much!

The anaesthetist came in and we had a chat about what was going to happen, then she asked my husband to read out a sheet with all the consent details on it!

At this point I'm bouncing on a ball, with 2 drips in my hand, a band round my belly monitoring contractions, a band round my leg with a wire connected up to babies head and I'm sucking the gas and air like a crazy person.

My husband is very thorough and not the fastest reader and I suffer from zero patience normally, let alone when I'm in pain and his pronouncing every word correctly and pausing to take breath is holding me up from pain relief 😂🙈

I'm just there, going 'read faster, yep yep, yep' to everything he's saying.

She then asked my to hop up onto the bed from the ball for the epidural! Well I definitely did nothing like a hop but I did make it up onto the bed, you have to sit in the edge and lean over, which I managed to do again with the help of the gas and Air. They did the injection between the contractions and they were talking to you the whole time about your pain and if you were likely to move, they gave me lots of confidence and that really helped. They were very patient and calm with me.

I don't remember any pain from the injection itself, it was like a normal injection, just a scratch. They fit a catheter and then you sit back on the bed.

When the fluid goes in, I did get a little electric shock feeling, but the anaesthetist did say that could happen, but then the relief was instant and delicious.

She then sprayed cold spray on my tummy to see if I could feel it. It was a strange sensation, you could feel the spray hit your skin, but not that it was cold.

The relief was instant, but when she sprayed one side of my tummy I could feel it was cold so she gave me a top up and I had to tilt to the side that could feel the cold to get the epidural to go to that bit.

I actually would have kissed her at that point, she was my absolute hero. She then came to check on me after I had the baby to make sure I was feeling OK and to see how I felt after the epidural, I just kept thanking her 😂

My advice would be to make sure your midwife knows you want an epidural early on so they can get you onto the anaesthetists list. Then if you do decide not to have it you don't have to, if you're coping without or with just gas and air. What I liked about the epidural over something else like pethidine was that it doesn't make you drowsy so you're fully with it throughout.

Good luck 😊

Samcz in reply to Seb9

Hello thanks for your reply, it's really helpful to read your description of what it's like. It's good that it doesn't make you drowsy that's a definite plus. It's good they were so patient and calm. Thanks very much ☺️

I had an induction at 38+5

I had a pessary inserted and the midwife preformed a strecth and sweep at the same time. This is quite uncomfortable however doesn't last long and the pessary can make you quite sore. They offered paracetamol at this point and that was my only pain med till active labour

my obs and babies heart were monitored every 4 hours, after the 24 hour I was assessed to see if they could break my water luckily they could.

I then had a hormone drip and after that it's a waiting game. After 15 hours of contracting every 2 minutes I managed on gas and air, and some iv paracetamol which was great I had some diamorphine which made me sleepy, but took the pain away completely. unfortunately I failed to progress and had a c section so had an epidural. Personally I didn't want an epidural as you aren't free to move around so can slow the labour down and the revocery is slower

I would try and hold off on the diamorphine if you aren't planning on having an epidural, as you'll need it when the contractions are really strong. Gas and air is brilliant.

Induced labour is apparently more painful than natural labour.

I still had a positive experience, my advice would be try not to plan to much and see how you feel at the time, I was really surprised how good the gas and air was for pain relief but it can make people sick.

Good luck xxx

Samcz in reply to Farmcat

Hello thanks for your helpful reply. I am glad you had a positive experience which is reassuring. Were you in hospital or at home for your pessary? Were you able to eat and drink throughout or did they ask you not to? Were you able to move about? Thanks very much. Sam xxx

Farmcat in reply to Samcz

I was in hospital for the duration

You can eat and drink normally whilst you are being induced but when you have the hormone drip you can only have clear fluids,so fuel up as induction and labour can take a long time.

During the induction and labour I was moving freely. Walking will help get things moving, and the birthing balls are good.


Samcz in reply to Farmcat

Hello thanks for your helpful reply, it's good to find out what it will be like. Xx

I had 24 hour pessary which failed then 2 6 hour pessaries which pretty much failed but they managed to break my waters then quite a long labour with not much happening then went from 4-10cm in about 4 hours had a bit of a nightmare once started pushing but that’s me not the induction. I started off with gas and air and lasted on this for maybe 6 hours I then had the pethidine injection (3 times I think) after 11 hours in labour I had epidural. Which I wish I had just had from the start knowing what I know now. For me my induction was difficult and very nearly failed and I ended up with a forcep delivery. But I have friends who were induced who have totally different positive stories!

Bailey135 in reply to Bailey135

I was allowed home for my 24 hour pessary too x

Samcz in reply to Bailey135

Hello thanks for your helpful reply. Sorry to hear your induction was difficult. So you would recommend having the epidural earlier on? X

Bailey135 in reply to Samcz

All depends on personal experience! My friend was induced 10 weeks before me and didn’t find it painful at all but personally yeah if I was in the situation again I would have got it from the start x

Samcz in reply to Bailey135

Thanks for your reply. It's interesting to hear your friend didn't find her induction painful. I guess pain is so subjective. I do tend to take painkillers when I have any pain so will probably struggle! X


I had an induction last year at 36weeks and like others have said I had the 24hour pessary. I was then having what felt like contractions from this to soften my cervix. I was then given another pessary which was over a shorter time I think over 7 hours. After that, I was given a sweep which saw me go to 2cms dilated. At this point, I was only allowed paracetamol and I used a tens machine. I was then transferred to the labour ward and my waters broke with gas and air. After 4 hours labour started slowing down a bit and was put on the drip to speed things up which it did quickly. My beautiful boy was born an hour later with just gas and air. I had wanted more pain relief but it was too late. I would say the positives were that I remember everything it was painful but amazing. The previous labour I had had pethidine and can't remember much. I am hoping to try hypnobirthing this time as I have heard so many positive stories as I want to avoid anything more than gas and air again if I can.

Good luck x

Samcz in reply to Natasha213

Thanks very much for your helpful reply. I have hired a tens machine. Did you find it helpful? That's a good point about being able to remember everything x

Natasha213 in reply to Samcz

To be honest I was fine until I had the hormone drip and then it was painful but had amazing midwife's and my husband was good support. I think as this was my second I was more prepared and knew what to expect. I have downloaded an app to practice hypnobirthing as I honestly have heard so many positive stories. The tens machine helped with the 24hour pessary I didn't use it in the labour ward. Practice breathing as this is really beneficial and will make the gas and air work as on my first I didn't do it right and kept holding my breath x

Samcz in reply to Natasha213

Thanks for your reply. It's good to hear you had good support. I've been trying to practice breathing like counting 3 in, counting 6 out when I feel anxious so it's good to hear it's helpful in labour x

I had an epidural when I was induced. I was 42 so they wouldn’t let me go over my due date. Epidural was brilliant and I would have it again if I had another baby. I know is different for everyone but that was my experience. Good luck. Hope everything goes well x

Samcz in reply to City74

Thanks very much for your reply. It's good to hear from someone my age. I'm glad to hear you found the epidural helpful. I think I'm more worried about having the epidural put in than labour as feel squeamish having a needle near my spine! But it sounds like it's the most effective pain relief and doesn't make you drowsy. Was your baby well after birth? X

City74 in reply to Samcz

Yes he was absolutely fine. No problems at all. I know what you mean about the needle near the spine but it didn’t hurt at all for me and was over quickly. I liked the fact that the epidural didn’t make me drowsy as you say and worked for me. Good luck with everything. Hope it all goes well xx

Samcz in reply to City74

Thanks very much. Glad to hear your baby was well. It's good to hear you didn't find the epidural painful and it was over quickly. Xx ☺️

I was induced at 38+4 because I’d had IVF and my baby was looking like he might be quite big. As it happens he wasn’t that big and the induction took so long to work he was actually born on his due date at 40 weeks 🤣

Overall though I felt it was quite positive. I spent most of the labour kneeling up, holding on to the back of the bed. Just had gas & air and tens machine. I was very much against an epidural but I know many others who felt it worked well for them.

The actual pushing part took quite a while and baby started to get a bit distressed so ended up with episiotomy & venteuse delivery in the end (still just in delivery suite, no theatre) but everyone was very calm and it felt well-managed.

Hope all goes well for you. The main thing is to know all the options and feel informed about what’s going on. Nobody can truly predict exactly how things will happen but if you know what’s available and why certain things are being recommended you’ll know you’ve done the best preparation you can x

Samcz in reply to kt_11

Thanks for your reply. It sounds like your induction was quite long. Were you in hospital a few days? I'm glad to hear it was positive for you. I know it's difficult to say as pain is subjective, but did you suffer with a lot of pain? Did you have to have pessaries and an infusion for your induction? Many thanks x

kt_11 in reply to Samcz

Yes it did take quite a while and I guess with hindsight it was clear that he just wasn’t ready to come out at that point! The first round of pessaries didn’t do anything. I was in for 3 days then as had 2 pessaries and a gel thing for 24hrs each. I then went home for a day before going back and repeating that. After all this they decided they could finally break my waters but I asked to go home to rest for one night before returning the next day (my due date) as I had been on a busy ante-natal ward where they were checking baby’s heartbeat every 4 hours, night and day. I was then admitted the next day to delivery suite, waters broken and the infusion put up.

Pain-wise I’m not going to lie, I have a high pain threshold and it was like the worst period pains imaginable. I do remember at one point saying I didn’t think I could do it 😂 But I just took it one step at a time and used the breathing techniques from my hypnobirthing (really didn’t think this would be any good but it helped a lot).

I’ve heard that induced labours can be more painful but I’ve got nothing to compare it to and I got through it ok in the end so I guess I’ll not know unless I have another labour without induction someday.

I was so adamant I didn’t want an epidural that even though it was painful, I’m glad I made that choice - it was the right one for me. Same with pain relief through a drip - I’ve got friends who say they felt that stuff was the best thing ever but just not something I wanted. I preferred to feel the pain and manage it rather than just not feel it but obviously that’s quite the opposite of what some people prefer x

Samcz in reply to kt_11

Hello thanks for your reply. It sounded like a good idea to go home for a rest when you had the chance! Do you mind me asking why you were adamant about no epidural? For me I'm worried about possible side effects and I think I read it can slow labour down. Many thanks x

kt_11 in reply to Samcz

Firstly I didn’t want a needle anywhere near my spine if I could help it. I realise sometimes it’s necessary but although risk of complications is very low, I didn’t feel it was for me.

Secondly I didn’t like the idea of not being able to feel what was happening. I think for some people that’s exactly what they want, but the thought freaks me out a bit. I don’t even like waking up with a numb arm after I’ve slept on it so any kind of nerve block etc wouldn’t be my choice 😂 x

Samcz in reply to kt_11

Thanks very much for your reply. My worry with the epidural is also needle near spine. I see what you mean about not feeling anything. My mum said she had an epidural when she had me and had to wait for it to wear off before she could push. X

Hi lovely, I went for induction at 38 weeks due to colestasis and a big baby. I went for a sweep first and waters went naturally, contractions started straight away but very little progress so went on the hormone drip. I went for gas and air first, managed a good few hours on that alone. Then had the lovely diamorphine which was marvellous! Then epidural when all that wore off and pain was too much. I had a very long labour though which ended up in traumatic forceps delivery, episiotomy and shoulder dystocia. I hope you find things easier and don't need the plethora of pain relief that I had but I have to say everything I had was fab!

Samcz in reply to Kitcat12

Hello thank you for your reply. I'm sorry to hear you had a traumatic delivery. Shoulder dystocia is where baby's shoulder gets stuck isn't it? I hope all is well with you and baby now? Glad to hear you found the pain relief effective. Thanks very much ☺️

Kitcat12 in reply to Samcz

That's the one, very sore for a long time after delivery but I've recovered well. I hope your induction is a lovely easy one x

Aw sorry to hear that but glad you've recovered well. Thanks very much. I've just been booked in for induction on 31 July which is 38 weeks! X

I was just scrolling through, and this is today!!! Good luck!! Xxx

Thanks very much! I'm just waiting for the call to say when to go in! Xxx

I had induction but it failed after waters broke no contractions I got to give to six cm in four hours on gas and air and drop it is more painful I had baby boy last year the contractions were nothing like on a drip I ended up having him home alone because I didn’t realise I was tht close was waiting for the pain but it’s manageable and think what pain relief I wud like I had spinal for Csection was amazing x

Samcz in reply to ali1009


Thanks very much for your reply x

Hiya, i had an induction also, had the pessary and gels. (3 gels) it gets sorer the more they go in! But i noticed women on either side of me were asking for air when these were put in. So depending upon your pain threshold - don't forget you can always ask for air if you're having a hard time.

I had my waters broke, didn't use air as i found this OK compared to the gels!

The nurses told me that if i am opting for an epidural, most women have it before the drip goes in. As the drip brings on the contractions quite fast, apparently its more painful than the natural way.

Anyway, i wanted to experience what it all felt like and so i opted for air until i could take no more. Went to 6cm, and asked for the epidural. Be aware if you are a certain amount dilated it may be too late to have one. So ask your midwife at the time to let you know the window.

You sit really still and do whatever the Dr tells you and its pretty quick and does not hurt at all, well i didn't feel anything! The contractions are what you feel not that! When you have your first dose the pain goes instantly! Such a relief!!! All you do is push when the midwife tells you too as obviously you can't feel the contractions to know when to push. But you might find you don't need an epidural? Again it all depends on your pain threshold, everyone is different.

No one told me you can't eat anything during labour if you are opting for an epidural. So i brought all these snacks and the nurse said i can't eat. I was so exhausted. My advice is while you are in for your induction, get as much sleep as you can and eat well. They suprised me in middle of night to say im having my waters broken! I hadn't slept in 24hrs and i ate little at dinner. It had a massive effect on my strength during labour.

Rest up and don't worry, ask the midwives and nurses as many questions as you want while you're in. I was in for a week for induction as the gels weren't working. Every woman has a different experience with the gels and induction etc.

Good luck! and be positive :-) x

Samcz in reply to Starbrights


Thanks very much for your reply. Are the pessaries/gels just sore as they put them in or afterwards as well? Thanks for the tip, I'll ask for the gas and air.

Thanks for the advice about the epidural too.

That must have been shock to be woken in the middle of the night! Could you even drink while the epidural was in? How long was it from when you had the pessary until you had the epidural?

I hope all the questions aren't too much? I'm going in for induction tomorrow!

Many thanks


Starbrights in reply to Samcz

-also, i had the epudural a week later, i had all the gels allowed (3 after the pessiary) as it wasn't working.... (they broke my waters at 2cm)


So sorry for late reply!

I found the pessiary/gels sore the more you have as it makes the area very sensitive. I asked the Dr to go slowly. You can always try the first one and see what you think? Upto you xx

Yeah i was allowed to drink - i recommend isotonic drinks for energy!

Ask as many questions as you like, i just hope i have suggestions to help,

Good luck :-) X

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