15 Pain Management Techniques During Labor

The last few weeks just before labor is extremely anxious and exciting for the expecting parents. The woman is confused and worried about what exactly id going to happen during labor. Especially for first-time mothers, this is a nerve-wracking time where she fears the unknown. Labor is painful and it is a very personal experience. What happened with another woman may not happen with you.

Some women can handle pain well while some others struggle with the pain. It really differs with each woman. There are many methods of childbirth such as natural, c-section, vacuum assisted childbirth. You can discuss with your partner and midwife about which method you want to opt. But irrespective of the method, labor is an intensive and exhausting experience. Here are a few tips you could practice or do during labor to tame down your pain during labor.

1. Relaxation Techniques

Relaxing during labor can do wonders for your body. Your uterus is constantly working towards your labor and contractions to push your baby down. However, relaxing during labor is a difficult task with all the overwhelming pain.

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But when you learn to isolate your muscles and release tension, your body will work better and the intensity of labor is reduced.

Try and stay as relaxed as possible. Your doula or midwife will keep talking to you and can maybe teach you some relaxation techniques to keep you focused. One way is

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to practice these techniques weeks prior to your labor. Relaxing can help you reduce the time of your labor pains and make childbirth much smooth and easy for you.

2. Rhythmic Breathing

One of the most common and best-used technique, maintaining a rhythmic breath relieves pain during labor. Practicing breathing techniques with your partner weeks before your labor could help you during delivery. Breathing techniques relax your body, keep your calm and loosen your body making it easy for the contractions to work more efficiently.

Focus on the parts that are tense and try to loosen them while you breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. Try to focus on your breathing during those rapid and rash contractions and concentrate on a specific point on the wall or the ceiling.

3. Pelvic Rocking

Pelvic rocking can shift some the weight, relax your body, and allows you to focus on your breathing relieving pain. You don’t specifically need a gym ball to do the rocking. You can do it on your bed, leaning on a bench or even against a

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wall. Pelvic rocking can also reduce a backache in women who suffer from back labor.

When you rock your body, you relieve your body of stress, relax your muscles and allow your body to concentrate on what has to be done while the contractions push the baby down.

4. Play Some Music

Music can be used as

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a distraction and relaxation method during labor. Studies have proven that listening to music during contractions can reduce stress and clear the mind keeping you focused during the pain. When your mind and body is relaxed and stress-free, your body can work better and can deal with the pain which comes your way more efficiently. It may even curb down the use of medical intervention during your labor. Talk to your midwife about the kind of music you want to play during labor.

5. Move Around

Doctors are now advising the pregnant woman to walk around and move rather than being confined to their beds. Walking around, rocking and moving your body helps to keep you focused and relaxes your body. The continuous movement also helps to push the baby down the birth canal. Research has proven that walking during labor reduces your labor time and encourages contractions, fast forwarding the whole process.

6. Water Therapy

Water treatment is on the rise with pregnant women these days. It has become one of the preferred methods of pain management in childbirth. The flow of

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warm water as you sit in a bathtub helps relax your uterine muscles and reduces the pains caused due to contractions. Water therapy also relieves stress and anxiety thereby making childbirth more calm and peaceful. The other advantages of this therapy are, it lowers your blood pressure, empowers you and increases the energy you need for the labor.

Though the research for water therapy is quite inconclusive, you can talk to your expert or health care provider and come to a decision based on your body type and your pregnancy.

7. Visualization

This method requires a lot of patience, guidance, and practice but when done right, it can do wonders for the mother. Like every other method, it relieves stress and focuses your mind on what’s happening. Especially in natural birth, visualization helps to keep your mind focused despite the heavy pain you undergo during this tumultuous time. Visualization can rid your fears and let you take control of the situation.

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When you add rhythmic breathing to visualization, you can get through your labor much more easily. It is important to have control and know what’s happening during your labor. Meditation or visualization can help you have this and focus your energies on getting through the painful labor.

8. Massage

Endorphins are the best thing that can happen to a girl. Especially during labor, a massage releases endorphins which keep your anxiety, tension, and stress in your muscles away. Endorphins

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give your body an analgesic effect and are a natural pain reliever which also uplifts your mood. Labor is going to exhaust you and your emotions will be raging all over the places. Massage helps to alleviate the pain and relax your body and soul healing the soreness and tiredness.

A back massage, foot massage or shoulder massage during or before labor can relax your body, loosen your muscles and let your body function better.

9. Aromatherapy

Not many hospitals or doctors allow aromatherapy as there are some essential oils which are not advisable for pregnant women. But, this therapy can be very enriching during your labor and can take your mind off the heavy contractions. Apart from this, the aroma keeps your mind calm and helps you have a happy birth. These oils can also be used to massage your foot or shoulders.

Aromatherapy gives you a positivity and uplifts your mood, keeps you calm and sane through the pains and birthing process. This helps you attain a control over your labor.

10. Birthing Coach

Most women prefer having a birthing coach by their side when it’s time for labor. A birthing coach, midwife, doula or your partner can help you stay focused and keep talking to you so as to bring you back to the moment. Sometimes, as your labor progresses and the pains intensify it’s easy to get lost and lose your way due to the pain. But your birthing coach or partner can bring you back to reality and keep you rooted in the moment.

A birthing coach will keep you rooted and lets you be in control of the whole situation.

11. Hypnobirthing

How relaxing would it be if you could give birth without having to take any medications for the pain and still be able to alleviate the pain? Hypnobirthing is a new technique where the woman undergoes self-hypnosis during labor to cope up with the pain and stress.

This method lets the mother have complete control over the situation. Training is usually given by a registered hypnobirthing expert who will guide you through the self-hypnosis during your labor. This state leaves you relaxed and concentrated, reduces fear and anxiety of the labor and keeps you confident. Also, since you are more focused, your body is able to manage the pain better and get through the labor.

12. TENS

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS is a drug-free alternative method of pain management during early labor which many women seem to appreciate. Though the name sounds scary and non-appealing, it is very effective.

A TNS machine consists of 4 flat pads which are stuck on your back. Once the machine is switched one, electric current passes from the pads to your skin and muscles in small and safe pulses. Th frequency and length of the pulses can be controlled by you depending on your needs. The electricity gives you a tingling feeling helping you manage the pain. It is a good distraction and works best in the early stages of your labor. But you may need alternative pain management methods as your labor progresses and contractions get stronger and more frequent.

13. Gas And Air

Also known as laughing gas or Entonox, this method is a proven pain management method during labor. The laughing gas is made up of oxygen and nitrous oxide. It can take you off the edge and relax your mind, keeping you stress-free from all the pain and activity going on in your body. Gas and Air is available in most birthing centers and can even be offered to you in case you opt for a home birth.

This method is best advised during the early stages of your labor. This method is very easy and more importantly, is extremely safe for you and your baby. While you’re in your labor, you are in control of how much Gas and air you use or want. You can take it according to your want and needs under the supervision of your expert. However, if you feel drowsy or lightheaded, tell your doctor or caretaker immediately. Some women have reported signs of queasiness and drowsiness when using Entonox. Make sure your body is not allergic to it.

14. Pethidine

Sometimes, natural methods such as breathing techniques, aromatherapy or hypnobirthing may not be enough for you to get through your labor. So at these instances, many women resort to Pethidine injections to get through the pain during labor. Especially during the peak of your labor, where your contractions are faster and heavier, it’s difficult for your body to cope with it with just natural pain management methods. Using medical interventions may just be the solution for you and many women have sworn it worked for them.

Pethidine is an intramuscular injection which helps you relax and ease the labor pain. It takes roughly 20 minutes for the injection to kick in and the effects can last for up to two or four hours. But each woman can react differently to this drug, so it is important to discuss with your doctor before you choose to take this injection. However, if you feel drowsy or lightheaded, tell your doctor or caretaker immediately.

15. Epidural

The last option is an epidural which most medical practitioners advise for a laboring woman. Most to-be-moms decide if they want an epidural or not even before they reach the hospital. While 10% of the women opt for an epidural, the rest 90% decline an epidural right away. But again, there are women who have changed their minds and begged for an epidural as the wave of pains hit them repeatedly.

An epidural is a painkiller drug which is injected on the small of your back. it’s a regional anesthetic which affects only certain parts of your body. It is a very effective pain management method and a majority of the women are pain-free after taking the epidural. You may still feel your contractions and may still have to push, but this is not as difficult as before the epidural. But sometimes, a forceps or ventouse may be needed to pull your baby out of you. You and your baby may need some extra care and monitoring but since you’re already in the hospital your doctors will look after and make sure you undergo a safe delivery.

Labor is one of the most painful and tumultuous phases of a woman’s life. The process of giving birth is one filled with pain, stress, and anxiety irrespective of how many times you’ve done it before. Each time is a new experience and doesn’t get easier. These are few of the methods you can try to reduce your pains and make your labor a little better or easier. Each woman’s body is unique and what works for one woman may not essentially work for the other. So keep in mind that you may not go through what your mother, friend or relative went through during their labor.