Text: How do we help you manage your pain?
Tara Mahoney, Nurse Anesthetist: Each mom has a different experience with childbirth.
Dr. Matthew Grade: It’s called labor for good reasons—it’s very intense.
Dr. Suzanne Welsch: Some labors go on for up to 36 hours and some labors only last an hour.
Tara Mahoney, Nurse Anesthetist: We work individually with each patient that comes into our labor and delivery department. Basically women who are pregnant fall into three categories: one of those being women who want to do natural childbirth and the nurses work with those patients to achieve that goal; the second category of patients are those who are unsure and they don’t know if they want to do natural childbirth or if they want to have some sort of pain relief intervention and that pain relief could be IV medication or that pain relief could involve the Anesthesia Department, which is that third category of patients who want to have some intervention regarding anesthesia for pain relief and that would be your regional anesthesia.
I think the way we do our pain intervention with anesthesia is unique talking to other providers in the state who do obstetric anesthesia we do what’s called a combined technique here, meaning we do an intrathecal narcotic injection into where your spinal fluid is and that’s our first part of the process and the reason we do it that way is because that first injection gets the mom comfortable within about a minute or two, as opposed to just doing an epidural for anesthesia. If you adjust to an epidural it could take 30-45 minutes up to an hour to get that mom to a level of comfort during her laboring process so we do that narcotic injection first, the mom is comfortable within a couple of minutes and then we follow up that procedure with the epidural procedure that stays running and infusing through the delivery of the baby.
Dr. Suzanne Welsch: We also have hydrotherapy as an option and that is using water, as in a big whirlpool tub, to assist with some of the labor pains.
Beth Martinka, Director of Obstetrics: We also are supporters of natural childbirth and there’s many things that you can do for a patient, if their choice is natural childbirth, to decrease their perception of pain or help them deal with the pain that is with every labor.
Tara Mahoney, Nurse Anesthetist: Basically from my department’s perspective is that if you’re a laboring mom, keep your options open. So think about what you want to do for pain relief during labor and delivery and realize that those choices may change as the laboring process progresses. I just think it’s a little bit more individualized care. A lot of times you are the only patient that we see during the day so if you’re the laboring mom, then I’m here for you and I’m on call for you the entire time you’re in the laboring process.
For more information about Sauk Prairie Healthcare's Birth Center visit SaukPrairieHealthcare.org or call 608-643-7223.