I've heard Nubain is a good alternative to an epidural for managing pain during labor. What's the difference?
Nubain is a narcotic analgesic, like other pain killers you might have heard of such as Stadol, morphine, and Demerol. Analgesics affect your entire body—and your unborn baby. The pain killers act centrally in the brain to blunt your perception of pain, but unfortunately, they also blunt your perception of everything. If you don't mind being drowsy, Nubain is a good analgesic during labor.
An epidural, on the other hand, is an anesthetic acting directly on the nerves to numb them. The epidural, then, will only affect one part of your body. If you want to stay alert for the delivery, the epidural is the way to go. Discuss your birth philosophies with your healthcare provider before you go into labor. You should consider a variety of coping strategies. In addition to medications, you might also want to look into natural methods such as Lamaze or the Bradley Method.