Here's a quick guide to help you understand the drugs and medications that may be used during labour and the delivery of your baby
By Dr Janice TUNG,
Associate Consultant and Associate Professor Tan Thiam Chye, Visiting Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital
This may be given to you to help empty your bowels before your delivery.
Stages of Labour and Birthing Positions
Pain relief medication that helps prevent or decrease labour pains. Examples include:
Entonox (also known as laughing gas)
One of the most common forms of pain relief for labour; you breathe in a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide though a mask intermittently throughout labour. Side effects include nausea, vomiting and drowsiness.
A drug similar to morphine and heroin, this is usually injected into the thigh or buttock. Its side effects include nausea and vomiting, confusion and drowsiness. It may also cause drowsiness in your baby and affect your baby's breathing after birth if given too close to delivery. If so, your baby may need help breathing with an antidote to reverse the effects and closer observation.
The most popular form of pain relief during labour, it involves the insertion of a special needle into the lower part of your back. A fine plastic tube is then passed through the needle (which will then be withdrawn) to allow the doctor to inject the drug through the tube to numb the pain. It allows you to be comfortable during labour. Common side effects include fever, shivering and headaches. Possible serious complications include a drop in blood pressure, and very rarely, nerve injury.
Related: Labour Pain Relief
Used to increase the effectiveness of uterine contractions so that labour can progress normally. After your delivery, these medications may be used to reduce the amount of blood loss by promoting effective womb contractions.
Monitoring the Baby During Labour
These may be given intravenously to reduce the chance of infection under certain circumstances, such as if you're a carrier of Group B Streptococcus, your water bag has ruptured for a long time, or you have fever.
Induction of Labour - Medical Intervention to Stimulate the Onset of Labour Pains
Anti-epileptic, thyroid or other essential medications that have been prescribed to you before and during your pregnancy may continue to be administered during labour.
Copyright © 2016 HealthHub.sg. All rights reserved.
Visit Parent Hub, for more useful tips and guides for a healthy pregnancy.
Download the HealthHub app on
Google Play or
Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.
Read these next
The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World Scientific
Healthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore
This article was last reviewed on
Monday, July 5, 2021
The Importance of Sleep
Interesting Beliefs About Sneezing
Did You Know BMI Isn’t The Same For Adults And Kids?
Feeding Your Baby Solid Food: Baby's First Food Journey
Health Screening for Primary School
Directory of Screening Locations
View More Programmes
There’s a lot about e-cigarettes that many of us are unaware of – what are they exactly, and are they safe? Read on to uncover truths and myths clouding it!
Kickstart your healthy habits today with good hygiene practices, an active lifestyle, a balanced diet and sufficient sleep.
Protect yourself and your loved ones from vaccine-preventable diseases like influenza and pneumococcal disease. There is no reason why anyone should suffer from the serious complications vaccine-preventable diseases can cause. Your best defence against such diseases is getting vaccinated.
Browse Live Healthy
In partnership with