How to Manage Labour Pain

Labour is an intense and amazing experience. You are creating a human being to bring into this world, and the labour is the last step before your little person is here. It is normal to be anxious about labour, and it is a painful experience, but there are natural ways of managing the pain and calming yourself during the birthing process.


1. Rhythmic Breathing or Moaning. When contractions come on, breathe deeply with them and sigh or moan, when breathing out. This can release a lot of tension that will build up in your body. You can also try quick, shallow breaths during the later stages of your labour. Remember to try and keep a rhythm to your breaths. This technique is also commonly paired with rocking, swaying on a birth ball, tapping or another activity that helps keep your body moving.

Your birthing partner can help you keep your rhythm.


2. Move During Contractions. There are many ways to keep your body moving during contractions:

  • Rocking on a chair
  • Swaying on a ball
  • Walking down the hallway

You can also accomplish simple movement by just changing your position with each contraction. Kneeling over a ball, leaning against your partner or a wall, squatting, or sitting backwards on a chair can help as well.


3. Shower or Bathe. Warm water can help ease the pain of the contractions and is especially helpful during the later stages of active labour. If you are in the shower, try aiming the shower stream at your lower back, abdomen, or any other areas you are feeling the most pain.


4. Touch and Massage. Just a simple stroke of the cheek or rubbing of the head can reassure us and keep us more calm during labour. Direct your partner as to what kind of touch you would like to receive (if any), and when you need it. Gentle massage of the limbs, back, shoulders and head often feel good. Be sure to communicate with your partner if the touching or massaging is annoying or painful.


5. Heat and Cold. As with most pain, heat and cold can help alleviate some of the labour pain. Try using warm and/or cold compresses on your lower back or abdomen. Cold compresses can also be placed against your perineum when you are pushing.

Remember, labour is different for everyone, and these techniques are suggestions. Try them out and stick with the ones that are working the best for you.

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