Long Stratton mum says new drug speeded up her labour at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: James Bass.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: James Bass. - Credit: Evening News � 2009

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital will be the first in the region to offer a new choice of pain relief for women in labour.

Remifentanil is a potent short-acting drug which can be used as an alternative to Pethidine.

With Remifentanil Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) women in labour can control when and how much pain relief they receive by pressing a button.

The button is connected to a specifically designed pump which will deliver a small dose of pain relief.

Unlike Pethidine, Remifentanil does not accumulate in mother or baby and breast feeding is not affected.

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Research published last month showed that 50% less people who have Remifentanil go on to have an epidural than those who have had Pethidine.

Research has also shown that pain scores are lower and maternal satisfaction is higher with Remifentanil when compared with Pethidine.

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Sophie Kelly, from Long Stratton used the newly-offered pain relief when having her daughter Florence who was born on the 8th June in just three hours.

She said: 'I'd first read about Remifentanil as an option for pain relief at one of my clinic appointments.

'I knew that I didn't want an epidural due to a pre-existing back problem, so thought that this might be a good option for me.

'I was so relaxed throughout my labour and I think this was, in large part, due to being able to control my pain so easily and the fast-acting nature of the relief.

'I'm sure that how comfortable I felt contributed to the speed at which my labour progressed.'

Dr Jeremy Corfe, Consultant Anaesthetist at NNUH said: 'We know from having taken part in previous studies that patients enjoy the fact that they can control

their pain relief themselves and that its effects wear off very quickly so it doesn't cause any problems with the baby.

'It's a fantastic alternative for those women who don't want to have Pethidine and who also don't necessarily want an epidural.'

Frances Bolger, NNUH Head of Midwifery said: 'We're excited to be the first maternity unit in the East of England to offer this new service to women in labour.'

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