Working with Pain in Labour: Systemic Medications

RCP has created this clinical resource to guide health professionals’ use of medication to alleviate pain in the labour and birth setting. It includes a review of the dimensions of pain and how they contribute to the labour experience, and differentiating between pain and suffering. Pharmacological options described in this resource include opioids (morphine, hydromorphone, and fentanyl) as well as nitrous oxide.

This resource is to be used in conjuction with the content in RCP’s two-part education module Supportive Care in Labour

Because of the potential for adverse effects, particularly related to IV Fentanyl use, Registered Nurses, midwives, and physicians must demonstrate competency in its safe administration.  Special considerations for the use of Fentanyl have been revised and clarified. RCP acknowledges that all policies and procedures are approved by the appropriate processes within each facility in Nova Scotia, or across the Nova Scotia Health Authority. Practice may differ across facilities, depending on available resources and prescriber preference; however, RCP recommends that the content of this clinical resource be considered in revisions to policy, procedures, and practice to ensure optimal safety and competence.

Date Revised: 
July, 2019