Traditionally the Dutch do not favour pain relief at all and believe that the majority of women do not need it and should not have it. They believe that there are other methods, such as breathing techniques learned on special yoga courses for pregnant women, which can be used to effectively combat the pain felt in childbirth. They further believe that a woman should not normally receive pain relief as it effects her ability to respond properly during the birth and as such increases the likelihood of intervention to assist in delivering the baby, eg forceps delivery. While this may be true, you may still want to have pain relief during the birth of your child.
Pain relief is only available if you are having a hospital birth as it cannot be administered by your midwife. If you request pain relief during your pregnancy you will usually either be told that that's not possible, or you can only get it if you really need it when the time comes. This kind of advice is usually quite alarming to a woman from a different cultural background, who has always expected to get pain relief during labour.
If you have considered the natural approach to childbirth and really find it is not for you then read on for advice on obtaining pain relief !
The Royal Dutch Organisation of Midwives mentions the following situations for a hospital birth:
The latter is only applicable if there are any complications, ie if there is a medical reason for a gyneacologist.
Getting Pain Relief
Hospital Trials for New Form of Pain Relief
In some hospitals (see below), a new form of pain relief is currently being tested. This pain relief is self-administered morphine by way of an epidural catheter. The administration is regulated by a computer and eliminates the risk of overdose. The effect of a single dose lasts only 9 minutes and is therefore safer for the baby because it minimises the risk of the baby becoming affected.