Your experience of pain in labour can be influenced by a number of things, like the environment in which you give birth, the support you receive, the position of your baby and the method of pain relief that you use. It is best to find out your options for pain relief before your labour and make sure your midwife or doctor knows what you want.
There are a number of natural and non medical methods available for you to use in labour. Although these have not been subjected to rigorous research, you may find them helpful.
Below are some general pain relief tips during labour on that may be able to help.
- TENS machine – hiring an obstetric TENS machine to use in labour and birth is a valuable addition to your labour and birth. TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. TENS is a small machine that is attached to your back and sends small electrical pulses through the skin and helps decrease the pain messages your brain receives. A TENS machine allows you to self-administer an increase in the intensity of the massage to the lower back when contractions come through. It is inexpensive to hire from a pharmacy or retail outlet and easy to use. It is my number one tip.
- Holding a comb – Having a simple hair comb to squeeze in the palm of your hand during contractions is a fantastic way to activate endorphin release during contractions. More endorphins, less pain! A little thing to add to your hospital bag.
- Take a seat on the toilet – you might wonder why this is linked to pain relief. Remember when you were a toddler and you were toilet trained? In being able to go to the toilet, you need to feel safe to relax those muscles in the pelvic floor. Sitting on the toilet in labour, relaxing and letting any poo or pee go, can also progress your labour effectively.
- Water – nature’s epidural. Making use of water in labour is a wonderful way to relax and find comfort. The shower or the bath at home, the shower in the birth suite. When you are relaxed, your body releases endorphins and this lowers your sensitivity to pain. Make sure your partner brings a change of clothes to support you in the shower.
- Eating and drinking – labour and birth needs energy. Eating and drinking will make sure you are energised for the best first date of your life. Keeping yourself fueled during labour will make sure your bladder and bowels empty frequently and this is great news for your baby who needs space to travel through the pelvis. Bring your favorites with you when you come to hospital.
Parenting courses give you the knowledge and confidence to prepare for your upcoming birth. They cover the most commonly asked questions – and more – to help minimise anxieties you may have about the labour process and pain management.
To find out more about our parenting education courses.