Most women would describe childbirth as being a painful experience. Although some degree of pain is usually associated with childbirth, you don’t have to suffer through the process. There are many alternatives to try during the course of labor to alleviate the discomforts of birth. They may not take the pain completely away, but they will help make it more tolerable.
Build a Labor Support Team
Whether you hire a professional doula or have a group of friends, a labor support team can make a difference. Many studies show that women who have good support throughout labor are less likely to ask for pain medications and are more capable of handling labor. The people you have chosen to be your labor support should focus on supporting you in every decision you make and be familiar with techniques to lessen pain.
Change Positions Frequently
Changing positions during labor and using movement is one of the most beneficial things you can do. Movement diminishes your pain perception, causes more efficient contractions, helps the baby move to a more optimal position and allows you to actively participate in your labor. Some positions that you can try include standing, sitting, walking, squatting, hands and knees, side-lying and lunging.
There isn’t any particular breathing pattern in labor that will take the pain away, but breathing is good for you and your baby. Maintaining a steady breathing pattern will give your baby extra oxygen during contractions, and it will give you something to focus on. You can develop your own pattern to deal with the contractions. If you are interested in taking a class that focuses specifically on patterned breathing, you can check out Lamaze classes.
Massage is a therapeutic touch that sends pleasure signals to the brain and blocks pain signals. Massage can help you focus on positive pressure and release tension in your body. During labor, mothers seem to hold a lot of tension in their face, shoulders, feet and back. Massaging these trouble areas can allow the level of endorphins to increase in your body and allow you to relax.
Hydrotherapy is the use of water such as a hot shower or tub. Relaxing in a tub of hot water or standing under a hot shower relaxes your muscles, which can allow labor to progress quicker. If you find that hydrotherapy works well for you, with your provider’s consent, you can even deliver your baby in a tub of warm water.
Visualization can be a very powerful tool in overcoming fear and pain. It can help you focus on the outcome and visualize the success of birth. Using visualization during labor can help you connect to your baby and what your body is doing through the course of labor. Visualizing your cervix opening up and your baby pushing through during a contraction can be a very powerful tool.
Focusing on a specific object during labor can help give you a sense of control during a contraction. Using a photo of your ultrasound or a family photo can be encouraging throughout labor. Using a musical focal point such as a radio or an mp3 player can also be beneficial for relaxation.