Quality statement 3: Pain relief

Quality statement

Women who have their labour induced have access to pain relief that is appropriate to their level of pain and to the type of pain relief they request.

Rationale

It is important for all women in labour that they receive appropriate pain relief within a suitable timeframe. As induced labour is usually more painful than spontaneous labour, women whose labour is induced may need pain relief earlier than women whose labour starts spontaneously. Women's needs for pain relief, and for different types of pain relief, may vary. Pain relief that is appropriate and suitable for the woman should be available, along with comfort and support that may be provided by partners, family members and others.

Quality measures

Structure

Evidence of local arrangements for women who have their labour induced to have access to pain relief that is appropriate to their level of pain and to the type of pain relief they request.

Data source: Local data collection.

Outcome

Women who had induction of labour are satisfied that the pain relief they received was appropriate to their level of pain and to the type of pain relief they requested.

Data source: Local data collection. NICE audit support for induction of labour; NICE questionnaire for women for induction of labour.

What the quality statement means for service providers, healthcare professionals and commissioners

Service providers ensure that access is available, for women whose labour is induced, to pain relief that is appropriate to their level of pain and to the type of pain relief they request.

Healthcare professionals ensure that women whose labour is induced have access to pain relief that is appropriate to their level of pain and to the type of pain relief they request.

Commissioners ensure that they commission services that provide women whose labour is induced with access to pain relief that is appropriate to their level of pain and to the type of pain relief they request.

What the quality statement means for women offered induction of labour and their partners, families and carers

Women who have induction of labour (labour that is started artificially using a pessary, tablet or gel) are offered pain relief that is appropriate for the amount of pain they are experiencing and the type of pain relief they request.

Source guidance

  • Induction of labour (NICE clinical guideline 70), recommendation 1.6.2.3.

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Appropriate pain relief

Induced labour is usually more painful than spontaneous labour. It follows that 'appropriate' in this context refers to whether the type of pain relief is satisfactory and if it is given within a suitable timeframe. [Adapted from Induction of labour (NICE full clinical guideline 70) and expert opinion]

Pain relief

For women who are offered induction of labour the pain relief options available are those outlined in sections 1.4 and 1.5 of Intrapartum care (NICE clinical guideline 55), along with comfort that may be provided by partners, family members and others.

Equality and diversity considerations

All women, including those with physical, sensory or learning disabilities and women who do not speak or read English, should have access to support such as an interpreter or advocate to help them express their needs for pain relief.