Analgesia is used to relieve pain during labour. Data are therefore limited to mothers who had labour, whether spontaneous or induced (note that some mothers who labour may go on to have a caesarean section and receive anaesthesia rather than analgesia).

Around 4 in 5 women who had labour in Australia received pain relief. More than 9 in 10 women who had an instrumental vaginal birth received pain relief. Additionally, women who gave birth in a private hospital were more likely to receive pain relief than women who gave birth in a public hospital.

Compared with mothers who had pain relief, mothers who did not have pain relief were more likely to:

  • be aged 40 or more
  • have given birth before
  • be Indigenous (age-standardised).