9 Natural Pain Relief Strategies for Labor
So you want to have a no or low intervention birth, huh? Well, hopefully, if you're reading that you didn't plan on just showing up to the big day unprepared. So we wanted to get you started off right on some ideas for natural pain relief during labor.
Now stop wasting time and get down to business! You do have a baby to birth after all!!
Acupressure is an amazing tool that can be used throughout the entirely of labor and birth. Acupressure works by pressing on very specific points on the body to allow for energy flow, relaxation of muscles, and general pain relief. It's been done for thousands of years, and if done right, can be a game changer for laboring folks.
This is definitely something you want to research and practice before you go into labor. Don't be using Dr Google for this when you're crowning, ok folks?
Pro tip: Use a marker when you're first going into labor to mark your fav acupressure points so you can find them quickly and easily when things become a little more... intense...
Ok we know that's not helpful but learning how to control your breathing, breathing deeply from within and utilizing varying breathing methods can be a huge help in labor.
Some common breathing patterns during labor: Slow breathing, Light accelerated breaking, and Variable breathing During Transition
Massage and Light Touch
Many folks desire lots of massage during labor. This can range from a deep massage to light tough massage. This can be using a variety of massing toys and tools or with just hands. And some parents we work with go in being insisted that they want lots of massage and end up saying NO to any touch. All of it's A-Ok.
Practice massage techniques and touching with your labor support person before labor. Let them know what feels good and how you like things so they have a jumping off point.
If you think you'll want massage during labor and your support person can't provide it, talk to a doula now! There are even doulas who are also massage therapists!! That just sounds dreamy to me...
Who doesn't love a nice swim or hot tub soak? It's so amazing to feel weightless and relaxed.
Well let me tell you, water while laboring can be a game changer. That's why many hospitals are now offering tubs for laboring patients to utilize. And if you birth in a really progressive location or your home, you can even birth in the tub if you wish.
Aromatherapy is a very popular method to help relax. Talk to a Certified Aromatherapist about the best oils to use during birth and of course, make sure that you love that smell too!
Pro tip: do have to be careful because some folks will be sensitive to smells during labor. Don't spray yourself down or use anything that you can't reduce or remove the scent quickly out of the room, just in case!
Music can bring on a variety of emotions in labor that can be helpful. It can help you relax, can help you move and groove, and it can help motivate you to keep on keepin' on. A few weeks before you're due, I recommend working on a birth play list with a few different mood themes- meditative/relaxing, fun and upbeat, and something that makes you feel inspired.
Don't be afraid to get all primal with it! You can use your voice to relax, to move through a contraction, to change your mood, to motivate you, and to help you push.
Don't worry about who hears you- this is your time to do your thing!!
There are different programs out there that employ a detailed and effective protocol for hypnosis during labor. We think that's awesome! The idea is that through these sequences, that you've practiced a lot for many weeks before labor, you self hypnotize to reduce or eliminate pain and discomfort during labor. Pretty rad. Check out a Hypnobabies or Hypnobirthing instructor in your area for more details!
Dance the baby out!! Get down!!!
I'm only half kidding. Really the more that you move the better. It is going to make you more comfortable, you'll be able to find more comfortable and effective positioning, and you'll be able to roll with contractions and the different stages of labor easier if you are mobile or able to be mobile.
TELL US- What's your plan for managing labor? If you've birthed before, what tips do you have? What would you have done differently?
Thanks for reading!
Kate Schnetzer, MHA, CPD, CBE, CLC CPST
Co Founder and Parenting Educator