I’m not gonna lie – labor isn’t easy. Dealing with labor pains is one of the hardest parts of having a baby. There are many ways to handle the pain, and you can choose more than one. When you’re in labor, you can try different techniques to see which works best for you. Our 9 ways to handle labor pain includes methods with and without medication.
1. Hot bath – taking a hot bath or shower will relax you and keep you from tensing up, which slows down labor. Add your favorite bubble bath (consult with your doctor first), and if you have a jacuzzi, go for it. The warm, rushing water will soothe your aching bones and relieve the pain.
2. Epidural – getting an epidural hardly has the risks it had even 10 years ago. The risk of spinal headaches is down to 1%, and if you’re completely healthy, you should not have any complications from it. An epidural will relieve the pain completely. Some women feel slight pressure or tightening with contractions, and a stronger non-painful pressure during the delivery. Most hospitals will allow you to monitor your own dosage through a continuous drip, so if you feel you need a stronger dose, you can press the button to administer more.
3. Relaxation – make yourself comfortable with your favorite activities and try to relax. Tensing up can prolong labor, so it’s essential that you remain calm and relaxed. Play soft music and try to sleep.
4. Birthing ball – moving around on a birthing ball not only eases the pain but speeds up labor and helps the baby descend in the birth canal.
5. Walk and lean – the two most-dreaded words to hear when coming to the hospital, after hours of labor at home, feeling like you’re 9 cm already, is “walk around”. However, walking around and leaning over can speed up labor and help ease the pain. Lying in bed is the worst form of pain management, so if you’re waiting for an epidural, or planning to brave it without meds, consider walking around and taking breaks to lean on the wall when you feel each contraction.
6. Breathing – if you’ve taken childbirth classes, you’ve most likely learned different breathing techniques to help you manage your pain. Stay focused on the breathing and you’ll find relief. Take consistent breaths and concentrate on it until the pain starts to fade.
7. Spinal – unlike the epidural, which can take up to 1/2 an hour to take effect, the spinal is effective immediately. Most women who are very advanced in labor and desperate for instant relief opt for the spinal, which is a single injection in the back. The spinal is only effective for about 45 minutes, though, so many women get an epidural with the spinal.
8. Massage – having your partner or doula rub your feet or back won’t necessarily relieve the pain, but it will help you take your mind off it. Some women need their own space to deal with contractions, but some find a massage relieving.
9. Counter Pressure – for those women experiencing back labor, counter pressure can be very effective. Counter pressure is applying significant pressure to the back during the discomfort to ease the pain.
All concerns and pain-relieving methods should be discussed with a doctor before.