You are in luck.
Here is a recent (Mar 2012) Cochrane overview of systematic
reviews of strategies for coping with labor pain. It includes
systematic reviews of hypnosis; biofeedback; intra- or subcutaneous
sterile water injection; immersion in water; aromatherapy;
relaxation techniques; acupuncture or acupressure; massage,
reflexology, and other manual methods; and TENS as well as inhaled
analgesia, parenteral opioids, epidural vs. nonepidural, and
combined spinal-epidural vs. epidural. If you want more
detail, you will then have the citations for the individual
systematic reviews covering these modalities. The overview
concludes that data are sparse, but the nonpharmacologic strategies
do relieve pain, although not as effectively as regional analgesia
(no surprise there), but regional analgesia has adverse
effects while nonpharmacologic strategies don't. Listening
to Mothers II, a survey of 1600 U.S. women giving birth in
2005, reported that many women found that comfort measures and
nonpharmacologic strategies to be helpful for coping with
pain. (FYI: The results of Listening to Mothers III, a new survey,
are due out in 2013.) So between the systematic reviews and
the self-report of women, you have your evidence basis for
arguing that women should have a range of options from
which to choose.
In addition, a Cochrane systematic review of
one-on-one continuous care in labor from a trained or experienced
woman who is not a medical professional--in other words, a
doula--reports that doula care reduces use of pain medication,
including epidural analgesia. Doubtless this is partly because
doulas are trained in nonpharmacologic pain relief strategies and
partly because continuous supportive care reduces anxiety, which in
turn reduces pain.
As for learning these strategies, If you're interested in
something formal, I recommend contacting DONA International to set up a training
workshop for your intrapartum nurses or more informally,
you could contact local doulas to see if they would be interested
in doing some inservice presentations. Implementing change, though,
may not be easy. Here's a couple of websites on the topic that
might prove helpful: Institute
for Healthcare Improvement and Kotter's
8-Step Change Model.
I'd love to know how things work out for you.