A new and effective way to reduce pain in natural childbirth

This clever piece of technology knows when to release the next epidural dose before pain is felt by the woman in labour. Read on for more details.

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Childbirth: there are no words to describe the feeling of holding your baby for the first time. There are  also no words to describe the discomfort of labour!

Mums-to-be, if you are dreading the thought of giving birth because of the pain involved, we think you might stop worrying after you read this article.

‘A less painful process’

According to a Straits Times report, KK Women and Children’s Hospital is testing out a new technology — called the Epiva pump — that is likely to make childbirth by epidural a “less painful process.”

Trials for the technology have already started, with more than 200 women (out of 3,000) already trying the new technology.

The news report quotes Mr Theodore Tan of Biofactory, as saying “preliminary results showed that the percentage of patients who complained of ‘breakthrough pain’ during labour has dropped from 25 per cent to about 6 per cent as a result of the smart pump.”

The Epiva pump: How it works

When epidural is administered during labour, it is injected into the epidural space of the spinal cord to relieve pain during childbirth.

What the Epiva pump aims to do is reduce “breakthrough pain”. This type of pain occurs when the dose of epidural given to a women in labour starts waning, and the woman feels discomfort again. The smart pump tracks the frequency of how often women press a button to release doses of the epidural.

So, “if they press it more often, the machine will know they are feeling more pain, and increase the basal rate of epidural in the next hour; it lowers the dosage if they press the button less often.”

This is in contrast to conventional epidural systems, which cannot anticipate the amount of epidural that a woman in labour needs.

What’s more, “the new pump can deliver the drug twice as fast, at 200ml per hour, as the conventional epidural pump,” say reports.

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Using the Epiva pump is also more productive for hospital staff.

So far, KKH has found this method to be very effective in managing labour-induced pain. It’s also a good way of improving the productivity of hospital staff.

Mr Tan explains, “If you have a lot of patients in pain half the time, nurses will be running around managing it. If the pain is better managed, nurses can focus on other aspects of patient care.”

The hospital has also received positive feedback about the Epiva pump from users.

At the moment, KKH is using five pumps for the trial, but it’s likely that 30 more will be added by next year, following certification approval, say reports.

Would you use the Epiva pump? Share your thoughts on this article in a comment below.