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Pain Relief Mums Touch Button

20 November 08

Labouring mums at St Michaels Hospital, part of the University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, now have control of their own epidurals, getting an extra dose of analgesic painkiller at the push of a button.

This June, St Michaels Hospital became the first in the South West to routinely offer mums-to-be this new method of epidural analgesia for child birth.

This system took over from the old continuous infusion method which required Midwives to top up mums when required. Now midwives can spend more time focused on caring for mum and delivering a healthy baby.

About 25% of women request epidurals at St Michaels and it is thought this new method of delivery has improved the maternal experience.  Once the epidural has been set up, mums can simply press a handheld button whenever they need a top-up. There is safety lock on the pump to make sure they only receive a maximum of one dose of anaesthetic every 15 minutes.

Dr Mark Scrutton the Consultant Anaesthetist who led the introduction of this technique at St Michaels said: This new method has been welcomed by both midwives and mums-to-be. Mums are reassured by having control over their birth experience.

Sally Bailey, who recently had baby number two, loves the new epidural. She said: I was much more aware of giving birth this time. With my first birth when I had an epidural I couldnt feel anything at all, this time I could feel when I was having contractions so I knew when to push the button but I still felt no pain at all.

Ann Tizzard, Manager of the Central Delivery Suite at St Michaels said: The method is much better for mums and midwives. Before if mum was in pain she would have to wait for two free midwives to run tests and top up her dose. Now the analgesia is immediate and mums have the choice over how much they want to feel.