Mota-Rojas, D., Velarde, A., Marcet-Rius, M. et al. 2022. Analgesia during parturition in domestic animals: Perspectives and controversies on its use. Animals 12(19), 2686.
This article analyzes the physiological role of pain during parturition in domestic animals, discusses the controversies surrounding the use of opioids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and local analgesics as treatments during labor, and presents the advantages and disadvantages for mother and offspring. Labor is a potentially stressful and painful event, due to the contractions that promote expulsion of the fetus. During labor, neurotransmitters such as the prostaglandins contribute to the sensitization of oxytocin receptors in the myometrium and the activation of nociceptive fibers, thus supporting the physiological role of pain. Endogenously, the body secretes opioid peptides that modulate harmful stimuli and, at the same time, can inhibit oxytocin’s action in the myometrium. Treating pain during the different stages of parturition is an option that can help prevent such consequences as tachycardia, changes in breathing patterns, and respiratory acidosis, all of which can harm the wellbeing of offspring. However, studies have found that some analgesics can promote myometrial contractility, increase expulsion time, affect fetal circulation, and alter mother–offspring recognition due to hypnotic effects. Other data, however, indicate that reducing the number of uterine contractions with analgesics increases their potency, thus improving maternal performance. Managing pain during labor requires understanding the tocolytic properties of analgesics and their advantages in preventing the consequences of pain.