Labour is called labour for a reason. No doubt there will be huffing, puffing, cursing… It’s not easy, it’s hard work! And as the due date draws closer, every woman is likely to spend some time thinking about and imagining the pain they are soon to be experiencing and worrying about how they are going to manage it. As this journey towards labour is progressing you should be considering what methods of pain management you will use in your labour and the process of giving birth.
If you have already decided on having a natural birth, then here are some tips for a pain-free birth, some natural pain relief options you should consider using that may just help you attain a pain-free birth.
There are probably Lamaze classes offered at your local Hospital that you can sign up for, but some women may like to take courses via DVD or internet based courses/videos. Through these classes you and your partner can learn the physiology of childbirth and different techniques of relaxation. Lamaze uses special concentration on breathing methods that you can use during the labour process.
Touch And Massage
Ever had a terrible headache, then something happens, something that distracts you a little bit from your headache, so that your pain is not as strong for that moment in time? The idea of using touch and massage for pain relief is based on this theory. This works because, put simply the body does not process more than one feeling at a time, your body can not receive information from both pain receptors and sensory (or touch receptors) at the same time, this is called the ‘pain gate theory’. If you are in labor and massage is performed at the same time, this ‘pain gate theory’ is engaged and the perception of pain is interrupted by the sensation of touch. As well as engaging the ‘pain gate’, massage and touch can also cause endorphins to be released into the blood stream, creating another natural way of battling the pain, endorphins are your bodies own equivalent to the drug morphine. Another common method of pain relief used during pregnancy is a TENS machine, TENS also operates using the pain gate method discussed earlier as one of the ways TENS can offer a natural pain relief option during Labor for those mums wanting to stay away from epidurals and other pharmaceutical options. The main issue with using TENS is that being a battery operated machine it is not really suitable for application during water births. Aside from that many women have used TENS to good effect during both pregnancy and labor.
Hydrotherapy, is a technique of pain relief that dates back through the ages, using warm water to ease aches and pains has been used for centuries. When the body is in warm water it encourages muscle relaxation, releases psychological tension, and enhances the process of natural labor. Water births are becoming progressively more common as a natural way to give birth, partly due to these analgesic qualities of warm water. Studies have shown water births to be a safe method of delivery and that the fetus is in no way of compromised during the time that the mother is in the water. Meaning you can stay in the water as long as you wish, or as long as it takes…
Positional Changes During Labor
Changing positions during labor may make labor easier by managing the pain and/or speeding up the labor process due to the effects of gravity. There are few common positions used during labor that may work for you, it makes sense to become familiar with them all and have practiced getting into each of them prior to labor so during the birthing process you can make a quicker decision on which position to use and how best to negotiate getting there when it really matters. Common positions used include upright, squatting, side, flat, and in ‘four point kneeling’ (on your hands and knees). Many mothers prefer to use birthing balls because they can sit, rock, bounce, stretch and enhance the labor process through movement, with the assistance and support of the ball.
If you are planning to take courses for hypnotherapy so you can use the techniques during labour, then you should prepare yourself from around the seventh month of pregnancy. Using hypnotherapy, some mothers have said that they experienced no pain at all during their delivery process. Hypnotherapy is a popular choice because it can put you in a very relaxed state during labour or delivery, and effectively manage pain in some women.
Hopefully, now you have a slightly better idea of natural pain management options available to you during labour, so you can start preparing for childbirth. No matter which method of pain relief during labour you choose to go with, the most important thing is that the end result is always the same, and that is, having a beautiful baby in your arms to hold when it’s all done!
*** The information contained here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment in any manner. Always seek the advice of your doctor with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition.