How To Ease the Pain of Childbirth

Many women take childbirth classes not only to learn about interventions, but to learn labor coping techniques. Even women who plan to have pain medicine in childbirth need to learn labor coping techniques. Epidurals are rarely given before four centimeters and some women's labor progresses too quickly for pain relief. But the following tips can help you ease the pain of childbirth.

  1. Breathing. Breathing is the most traditional, most well known and a very effective laboring coping technique. One breathing techniques is the 'he...he...he...hos' seen in movies and television. Or you can simply try breathing in and out through your nose as you want to, as your body tells you. Blowing, if you have the urge to push can help, as does panting during intense contractions.

  • Imagery/Meditation. Many women use imagery and meditation to get them through labor. Some women simply come into labor with an image they will use, others use a script that someone reads to them. Imagery and meditation should be practiced before going into labor.  
  • Massage/Counter Pressure. Massage and counter pressure, especially if you are experiencing back labor can be very helpful. Even if you do not have back labor, massage can keep you relaxed and keep your contractions more manageable.
  • Hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy is baths and showers. A shower is a wonderful way to get through labor. It is relaxing, especially if the water is concentrated on the lower back and belly area. Baths or water births are another wonderful way to help with labor pain. Many women feel that water immersion is as effective a pain reliever as an epidural.
  • Hot/Cold Compresses or Pads. Heating pads are very helpful in labor, especially during back labor. They can keep the muscles relaxed and ease a great deal of labor pain. Cold compresses are recommended for perspiring moms or moms that are pushing.
  • Acupressure. Acupressure can be helpful during childbirth. There are certain points that can be pressed on to alleviate labor pain. Acupressure should only be performed by an acupressure practitioner.
  • Birthing Balls. Birthing balls or exercise balls are very helpful during labor. Women that sit on them keep their pelvises open. Many women experience less intense contractions on the birthing ball. The birthing ball can also be very helpful if the laboring woman wants to try a "hands and knees" position for laboring.
  • Laboring Positions. Women's bodies in labor will let them know what positions will help the baby rotate into a good position for birth. These positions include hands and knees, lunges, squatting, and sitting on a birthing ball. Your childbirth class should teach you other laboring positions.  
  • Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is a wonderful way deal with labor pain. Lavender is very relaxing and in many aromatherapy products. You can make a little lavender satchel to put in your pillow or sprinkle lavender essential oil onto a blanket. In addition, peppermint essential oil can help with nausea in labor. Remember, never put essential oils on your skin and check with your care provider before using essential oils-some are contraindicated for pregnancy and birth. In addition, remember that hospitals do not allow candles or incense. 
  • Birthing Coach. One of the best coping techniques for labor is a birthing coach. Your coach helps you with comfort techniques and helps you stay focused during childbirth. Your birthing coach can be your partner, mother, friend or sister. You can also hire a doula or professional birthing coach to help you with coping techniques. 
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