Many methods of natural pain relief during labor are available to help control and lessen the pain that comes with going through labor. Frequent position changes, deep breathing or patterned breathing, massage, warmth, water, support and relaxation are very helpful for many women, especially during the early stages of labor.
- Try to change positions as often as possible and avoid lying in bed on your side or back for long periods of time once labor contractions are strong and painful. Of course, if you are really exhausted, you will need your rest so, rest when you can, too.
- Lying in bed for extended periods of time may prolong labor, and the possibility of a longer labor will make you more tired.
Chose a position that you are comfortable with and on that is tolerable. Some examples of good positions to try throughout your labor are:
- Being on all fours. This helps ease back pain or pressure, as well as hip discomfort.
- In the standing position, bend over your bed or place your arms around your partner’s neck and lean into their chest. Stand with legs apart apart and rock your hips to encourage baby’s moving.
- Kneeling with one leg raised. This can be accomplished in or out of bed. This position creates more room in the pelvis for baby. This can also be done standing and assuming a lunge position.
- Alternate walking and sitting or rocking often. You can also try using the birthing ball for sitting and rocking on. This also encourages baby moving by frequent maternal position changes.
- Focused breathing is an excellent way to get through each contraction. Pull your air in slowly at the start of each contraction, and slowly breathe it out throughout each contraction while relaxing.
- Pull your air in through your nose, and out through your mouth slowly, in a rhythmic way– soft and slow.
- It isn’t as important how you breathe through each contraction. It is more important that as the contraction builds, your breathing continues slow and soft, through each and every contraction until it ends. When each contraction ends, try to close your eyes, and relax your entire mind and body.
- Having your partner help remind you to relax after each contraction will be very helpful. As the intensity of contractions builds it may become more difficult to remember to relax between contractions.
- Massage in labor is not only relaxing, but may also help by releasing endorphins that alleviate discomfort. These are your body’s natural pain killers.
- Massage may help you relax and also help relieve anxiety during labor.
- Communication will help you get the most out of a massage for relief in labor. Sometimes having your midwife, doula or support person massage at the base of the lower back and coccyx area may help alleviate back labor. Some women may prefer to relax instead with a massage over the entire back and shoulders while between contractions.
- Instruct whomever is doing the massaging to move their hands in a slow, firm and steady pace to help keep you relaxed.
WARM BATH OR SHOWER
- Submerging in a warm bath, or feeling the shower spray of warm water directed toward the abdomen, back or hips, helps decrease pain during contractions for many women. Warmth helps to relax tense muscles as well.
- Many women report less need for pain medication due to feeling less contraction discomfort when laboring in warm bath or shower.
- Many women with continuous, effective support in labor, birth quicker and with less difficulty than women without support.
- A support person can be your midwife, partner, relative or friend-anyone who will encourage you through your labor and birth, will remain calm and relaxed, and believe in you.
- Your support person should feel comfortable with the process of labor and birth, and feel confident being your advocate.
- Making sure you are well rested before labor helps many women remain focused and calm. Going into labor without adequate rest makes coping with labor more difficult.
- When you think what you are feeling is early labor, lie down and have something warm to drink, listen to your favorite music and relax.
IMAGERY AND POSITIVE THINKING
- Imagine your baby moving down the birth canal as you labor. Sometimes visualizing seeing your baby going through the process of labor and birth can support your focus in labor.
- Thinking positive thoughts and telling yourself that you and baby are o.k., and that each contraction you go through is your body doing the job it knows how to do. Each contraction brings your baby closer to being in your arms! Trust your body in birth.
- Surround yourself with individuals that make you more comfortable in labor, not more uncomfortable. Feeling a sense of calmness, comfort and control during your labor will help keep your birth hormones flowing. Fear, anxiety, panic and discomfort from your support during labor and birth can work against you.
- Remember that your midwife will support you in your labor and birth no matter what method you decide upon. Medicated she will support you, non-medicated, she will help you cope.
We will be happy to discuss natural pain relief during labor with you. Contact us using our live chat for an appointment.