The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has suggested that: “Labor results in severe pain for many women. There is no other circumstance where it is considered acceptable for a person to experience severe pain, amenable to safe intervention, while under a physician’s care.” Anesthesiologists endorse this belief and, as specialists in the management of acute pain, view labor pain relief as a professional duty and responsibility.
There are many opinions about how to best facilitate comfort in a laboring woman. However, it is the woman, herself, who decides which method is best for her. Usually a pregnant woman will already have a plan for coping with pain before labor begins, and an informed approach is to be encouraged. It is very clear, however, that no two labors are identical, and that the subjective experience of pain can be difficult to anticipate.