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Opiate medication

Opiate medications such as pethidine and diamorphine are injected into your thigh or buttock to help relieve pain. Opiates can make you feel drowsy and may make you feel nauseous. The midwife will usually offer an anti-sickness medication at the same time.

Your midwife will generally avoid administering this pain relief close to the latter stages of labour as the opiates can affect the baby as the opiates cross through the placenta. There is a possibility of your baby being born sedated. 

It can take around 20 minutes to become effective and won’t take away the pain completely. The effects will last between 2-4 hours. If you wish to use the birth pool we recommend that you wait for at least 2-4 hours after you have had this injection.