Painkillers are better in relieving women of labour pain than softer approaches like massages, electronic pain relief machines and hypnosis, according to experts.
However, the research, based on a review of 310 studies, said that measures such as an epidural do have more side effects.
Experts found that an epidural, or combined spinal epidural and inhaled gas and air, effectively managed pain in labour but resulted in higher rates of assisted delivery, the Daily Express reported.
Being immersed in water, relaxation techniques, acupuncture, massage and sedatives were described as interventions that “may work” with fewer adverse effects.
The research by the Cochrane Collaboration involved experts from universities including Liverpool, Warwick and Manchester.
“Overall, women should feel free to choose whatever pain management they feel would help,” it concluded.