Tranquilizers and barbiturates

These medications are not pain relievers. They're used only to relieve the mother's anxiety and promote rest.


Amobarbital (Amytal), pentobarbital (Nembutal), secobarbital (Seconal)


Diazepam (Valium), promethazine (Phenergan), propiomazine (Largon) When they're administered

Tranquilizers or barbiturates are occasionally given in early labor. How they're administered

They're given by mouth, injected into a muscle in your thigh or buttocks, or injected into an intravenous (IV) catheter.

How they affect you

These medications have a relaxing effect, but they don't eliminate pain. They last four to eight hours, depending on the type used.

Possible concerns

Tranquilizers or barbiturates will make you drowsy. They may interfere with your ability to remember the details of labor later. Barbiturate medications may suppress a baby's activities at birth. Tranquilizers such as diazepam may diminish a baby's muscle tone at birth. These medications are used infrequently.

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