How Do You Cope with Labor Pains?
Whether you’re giving birth at home, at a birth center, or in a hospital, you’re most likely going to experience some labor pains. The interesting thing about the sensations in labor is that they are not painful to everyone. In fact, our modern culture will equate childbirth with pain while other more “primitive” cultures don’t have those same associations. Everybody also has a different pain tolerance. So how do you cope with labor pains?
Relax and Keep Breathing
When you think about labor and childbirth, you might be picturing a movie scene where the woman is heavily breathing. But you don’t need any special breathing techniques in order to get through labor. In fact, hyperventilating is detrimental, because it just wears you out without giving you extra oxygen for the efforts. Therefore, the best thing you can do is to relax and just keep breathing calmly.
Some women feel better prepared when they have learned relaxation methods to help them through labor. There is nothing wrong with that. Meditation and relaxation techniques can help you greatly for the rest of your life. But even if you don’t prepare especially, you will find that your body will just take over as long as you let it. Rest and stay calm.
Don’t Focus on the Pain
This may be easier said than done, but if you focus on how much it’s hurting, then it will probably hurt more. Instead of focusing on the pain, you’re going to want to focus on something else. You can focus on your spouse, your pillow, the fact that you get to meet your baby soon, or a fantasy vacation scene in your mind. You won’t experience any more pain than you can handle, so you should try to just trust in the process.
By the way, when the pain starts to become unbearable, you’re probably really close to the end. That’s the point when women in the hospital may scream for the epidural, but a smart midwife will just calmly tell you that it’s time to have your baby.
Explore Pain Relief Options
You can have pain relief without getting an epidural. While labor is not meant to be like a walk in the park, you can make it less painful by trying out a few natural pain relief options. The most popular option is to get in the water. Something about a warm bath is very soothing, especially for back pain. But you can also ask your spouse to massage you and apply hot or cold compresses to your back.
You should also try to find a position that’s comfortable for you. Most women don’t stay in the same position throughout labor and birth. Movement can help facilitate the descent of the baby, but it can also make you less uncomfortable. During the early stages of labor, walking around is a great option for most women. But if you’re tired and don’t feel like walking, then you should get some rest.
Listen to Your Body
The best thing you can do during labor is to listen to your body. Drink plenty of water when you’re thirsty. Use the bathroom often, and don’t be afraid to make noise if it makes you feel better. Even if the neighbors complain about you later, you’re not likely to repeat the offence anytime soon.
What Do You Do About the Pain in an Unassisted Birth?
Whether you’re giving birth unassisted, with a midwife at a birth center, or with a doctor at the hospital, every woman is concerned about the pain during labor and delivery. It may surprise you that childbirth doesn’t have to be painful at all. Some women even report orgasmic births.
We expect and feel pain during labor and birth, because we are conditioned to think that way. But did you know that labor contractions are very similar to orgasms? In both instances, your uterus contracts. Of course, labor contractions are much more powerful than the contractions experienced during an orgasm.
You don’t have to believe that labor and birth will be painless in order to give birth unassisted. In fact, most women who give birth naturally will tell that part of it was very painful, even to the point where they wanted to give up. But whether you give birth unassisted or not, you have to figure out how to deal with the pain in order to give birth naturally. Besides, having an epidural isn’t necessarily pain free, either.
Most women find that they can handle the pain during labor. While there are a few things you can try to relieve the pain or distract yourself, it’s not necessary to practice this beforehand. Being able to meditate and visualize can help, but you will probably become quite calm all on your own. Nevertheless, here are a few things women have found helpful during labor and birth:
- Visualize the baby moving down the birth canal.
- Breathing deeply and calmly. (Never hyperventilate!)
- Calming music.
- Receiving a massage from your husband.
- A warm bath. (This is also called the midwife’s epidural.)