Investigate natural pain relief and comfort measures that you could use before your labor begins.
Most importantly, make sure that you understand the process of labor and giving birth. Find the answers to your questions and overcome any fears that you may have as fear may hinder your progress in labor.
Have a written birth plan and make sure you have the support of your partner, doula, midwife, doctor or others who will be involved.
You have the right to an unmedicated labor and birth, using only natural pain relief methods, if you choose. However, if you opt for any medical intervention, it would be wise to have researched the risks and benefits before the time.
When labor starts, do not do anything strenuous, but rather rest as much as you can and save your energy for the work ahead. Eat snacks that will give you energy and drink enough water. Focus on relaxing and breathing deeply as you tune into your body.
Distract yourself for as long as possible between contractions by reading, chatting, listening to music.
Focus on one contraction at a time and relax as much as possible in between. Try the natural pain relief and comfort measures below.
Breathe with purpose, especially during contractions. This will ensure that you oxygenate your uterus and that your baby also will receive adequate amount of oxygen.
2. Drink Fluids
Stay well hydrated and eat healthy snacks to maintain your energy levels. Labor is like a marathon, you need sustained energy.
3. Empty your Bladder Frequently
A full bladder can be uncomfortable and could slow down the progress of your labor.
Pleasant music will set the mood and help you stay calm. It will help you to relax and this will facilitate your progress in labor.
5. Secure Environment
A strange, noisy, busy environment with strangers coming and going is not conducive to an easy labor. Stay home for as long as possible where you are free to wear your own clothes, move around freely and do whatever you choose to keep comfortable. If you will be giving birth in a hospital, try to continue as at home and protect your privacy as far as possible.
6. Position and Movement
Change positions during labor as this will ease any pain or discomfort. Stay as upright as possible so that gravity can be effective as your baby moves down the birth canal.
Rock your hips, sway, squat, lean forward or dance. Using a birth ball is also very effective. Relax and allow yourself to moan and groan deeply if you need to help release endorphins which are beneficial to you and your baby.
Research has shown that water is very effective as a natural pain relief method. Either submerse your body in deep bath of warm water or stand under a powerful shower with the water directed onto your lower back.
Read more about the Benefits of Labor and Giving Birth in Water.
8. Touch and Massage
During the different phases of labor you may enjoy different types of touch - massage, pressure or gentle stroking. Massage will relax you and stimulate the release of endorphins which help minimize the perception of pain.
9. Encourage and Soothe your Baby
Labor is also hard work for your baby. As you talk to, sing to and touch your baby, it will have a soothing effect on you too.
10. Emotional SupportHave your partner or others encourage and praise you as you progress through labor. They need to be positive and believe in your ability to have the birth you planned.
11. Hire a Doula
A doula is specially trained and experienced at helping women through labor. She understands all the different scenarios that could occur and is skilled in helping you to stay calm. She will suggest and use natural pain relief techniques that will help to speed up your progress in labor and reduce your perception of pain. Click here to read more about the Benefits of Doula Support
12. Positive Affirmations
Pray and speak positively to yourself about your progress as this triggers hormones that will help your labor. Negativity and fear will slow down your progress.
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