Statistics - Medical Pain Relief Statistics in Australia
A look at some key facts about drugs in labour

Medical Pain Relief Statistics in Australia


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A look at some key facts about drugs in labour

  • Of the 77% of women who had pain relief in labour: 54% had nitrous oxide (gas), 33% had regional analgesic (epidural) and 20% had systemic opioids (morphine/pethadine);
  • Close to one-quarter (23%) of women who laboured did not receive any pain relief during labour. These women were more likely to be older and to have given birth before;
  • In some private hospitals, epidural use is as high as 95% of women who birth there;

If you are planning for a natural birth it is good to check in with your place of birth for information about their policies relating to the use of drugs for pain relief. If you are keen to give birth without drugs it is worthwhile investing the time to learn some natural breathing and relaxation techniques. These methods reinforce the body's natural ability to birth, allow you to support your body in labour and may make an enormous difference to the quality of your birth outcome. 

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2015. Australia’s mothers and babies 2013—in brief. Perinatal statistics series no. 31. Cat no. PER 72. Canberra: AIHW

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