Pregnancy Home > All About Labor Medications

By educating yourself on the different labor medications before you need them, you can be better prepared should your healthcare provider recommend one (or more) during labor and delivery. This list includes pain relievers, antibiotics, anesthetics, epidurals, and even drugs that are given postpartum. This article also briefly addresses contraceptives and taking other medications while breastfeeding.


Labor Medications: The Basics

Several different medications may be used during labor. Even if you are planning a natural birth, it is still wise to know a little about these medications beforehand, as labor and delivery can be unpredictable, and your healthcare provider may recommend certain medications for certain complications or situations. Some medications are routinely given, even if labor and delivery go smoothly.
Knowing about the various labor medications will help you make informed decisions and can help provide reassurance if medication becomes necessary.

Types of Labor Medications

There are a few different types of commonly used medications for labor, including:
  • Pain relievers
  • Local anesthetics
  • Regional analgesia
  • General anesthetics
  • Induction or labor augmentation medications
  • Antibiotics
  • Postpartum medications
  • Other random medications.
Although postpartum medications are not technically "labor" medications, it's worthwhile to include them in the discussion.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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