There are so many methods of pain relief that you could have during labour, it’s hard to know what to take and what not to take. Some women prefer to stick to more natural methods of pain relief during childbirth, as medical drugs can mean that it takes a lot longer for the baby to make an appearance, as the baby suffers from the effects of the drugs as well as you do. The truth is, there are many effective pain relief methods you can try that won’t cause any side effects to you or your little one. Here’s more about them and what they can do for you:
A doula is a person whose job is to help you stay calm throughout the labour, and help you to find the best natural method of pain relief no matter what stage in the pregnancy you’re at. Women who use doulas have been proven to ask for epidurals 60% less than women who don’t use them. You can either have your doula with you at home or at the hospital to give you the support you need. You’ll be surprised at what you can get through with the support of a doula!
Water can help in many ways to provide relaxation and comfort to women in labour. Some report that hot showers running down their backs really worked, and others say that immersion in water made pushing a whole lot more comfortable. Do your research, as not all hospitals offer water births.
If you can learn to relax during labour, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favour. Tensing up because of the pain will only make the pain worse in the long run, so you end up in vicious cycle! With hypnobirthing you’ll learn how to calm yourself by relaxing and visualising, and how to take control of your own birthing experience.
You wouldn’t believe it, but the worst position in labour is to lie flat on your back or semi-recline, according to most people. You should test out different positions and go with the ones that feel right for you. Leaning forward is a great position as that’s the way the uterus contracts!
You can request your doula or partner to perform massage while you’re in labour, as it has been reported that women who are stroked gently feel less anxious and have shorter labours than those that aren’t.
Of course the kind of environment you are in will affect your labour. By dimming the lights, and bringing a favourite CD with other home comforts to the hospital, you’ll feel much more comfortable in labour.
Heat packs work well for back pain during labour and even afterbirth pains. However, you’ll need to check to make sure they’re allowed with the hospital you’re going to, as some don’t allow you to heat them in the microwave due to fire hazards.
A TENs machine can really help women to cope better with their contractions. The TENs unit sends electrical pulses, which is thought to block pain signals to the brain and also help to release endorphins. The effectiveness differs from woman to woman, but it’s worth a try!
Many women get through labour just fine without any kind of medical pain relief, it’s all about learning to allow yourself to relax and finding what feels best for you. Good luck!