Let your body provide it’s own pain relief
When you relax and attempt to work with each contraction, the uterine mouth opens rapidly, and the child will have a better chance to move down through the pelvis. If the pain causes you to tighten and tense up, your body may extend the time it takes to deliver the baby.
The following are suggestions on how you can help your body to relax. These hints are applicable throughout the birth – both during early and later labour.
Motion and rest
Try to tune into your body during each stage of childbirth. Finding a comfortable way to handle a contraction is essential. Some pregnant women are most comfortable being on the move during contractions, others find it better to be in a resting position. All, however, require flexibility during childbirth, such as:
- Laying on your side
- Kneeling on all fours
- Standing up
You can also use most of these positions during the pushing stage, when you give birth to your baby.
Deep and quiet breathing can help:
- Sooth, so you get the feeling of control
- Concentrate and tune into your body
- Relieve pain
To do this:
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, right down into the stomach – right below the navel, down there where it hurts
- Hold the breath inside a little while
- Slowly exhale, so it happens totally naturally – released simultaneously by the whole body, making your body relax.
Breathe in this way from the start of a contraction until the end. It is an idea to practice breathing frequently during the pregnancy, for example, when you feel a Braxton Hicks contraction, are feeling stressed, or simply have a need to relax.
Some pregnant women find soothing music very relaxing. If you are one of these, take your own music and a CD player just in case they don’t have one.
Massage and touch
Massage can be really soothing for all types of aches and pains, but especially for lower back pain. This also allows intimacy between you and your partner. Be aware that some women find it unpleasant or distracting during contractions, so it’s important to assess this on an individual level.
Shower and bath
Hot water can help relax and relieve pain:
- During labour, it can be relaxing to stand under a hot shower and aim the shower head to where the pain is being felt most.
- A bath can allow you to rest and give the feeling of weightlessness. It is important for you and your child’s well-being that the water is not too hot (maximum 36 to 37 degrees) and that you ensure you drink plenty to stay hydrated.
You are able to stay in the bath until your waters break. While you’re in the bath, you can get other forms of pain relief, for example. Hypnotherapy or acupuncture.
Hot water bottle
Hot water bottles often work well against contraction pain, placed on the lower back or front of the stomach to ease the pain. During both early and late stages of labour, this is a good and easy option, which of course can be used with other forms of pain relief.
Warm cloths and massaging of the perineum can also relieve the tightening sensation that comes when the baby’s head is pressing down.