What pain medications are available during labor?
There are a few that are used in labor and it depends on the provider what they generally use. It also depends on the stage of labor you are in what they might use.
If early in labor or being induced overnight, they are more likely to give you something longer lasting, while in active labor they are more likely to give you a short acting drug.
Some of the drugs that might be used include stadol, fentanyl, morphine, dilaudid, and demerol.
Are there risks involved with these drugs?
Like with all medication, there are risks. They give temporary relief, but they have the possibility of suppressing the baby's breathing upon birth. This can lead to needed interventions when they are born. Generally speaking this is not severe, but can be.
When can these be given?
Each provider and hospital have there different policies, but once you are dilated to about 7 cm or so, they will not give these for the risk above. Up until then they can be given every 2 to 6 hours depending on the drug.
Have you had any of these drugs during labor? What was your experience?