It’s called labor for a reason, you know. Pushing a baby out of your vagina is hard work, and that work involves a LOT of pain. Sometimes, the pain is bearable but most of the times, it’s fucking unbearable. A lot of women tend to panic when they experience such pain, thus making their delivery even more difficult than it’s supposed to be. Luckily, there are ways to relieve pain during delivery and now let's get to some details.
Pain Relief During Labor
Breathe, breathe, breathe
Sounds stupid and clichéd, right? You’re thinking, "WTF! How can that help?" But here’s the thing – inhaling and exhaling deeply and slowly not only calms you down but also gives you a little relief from your pain. You can meditate, if at all that’s a possibility for you.
In other words, self-hypnosis. The easiest way for you to go into a deeply relaxed state is by hypnotizing yourself. Now I know that 99% of you will not be able to do so, then how about visualization? Just picture a field, mountain, cottage in a serene village or even flowers, and focus on that visual. The University of Florida (Gainsville) did a study which found out that the women who indulged in either of the activities experienced less discomforts and anxiety than those women who didn’t.
Now I know this one’s a little controversial because science doesn’t exactly back it up, but hey. If it works for you, it works for you! In China, in fact, acupuncturists are called upon frequently to ease the pains experienced by patients undergoing different medical procedures, especially to give pain relief during labor.
Sometimes, the pain can easily be combated by simply moving around or doing some light exercises. Stand, sit, lie down, squat, lean on a family member’s shoulders or get down on your knees. If you’re alone, then you can easily opt for leaning over your bed, sink or even the stairs.
Change your position
As mentioned above, movement is good for your body, especially if you’re feeling pain. Sometimes, simply moving about doesn’t help much with the pain because the movement is temporary (a few minutes at the most). So opt for something more permanent and change the position in which you’re sitting or lying so far.
Eat and drink well
Dehydration is a serious problem because not only can it lead to fatigue, but also meddle in the functioning of your uterus. Lack of proper eating, on the other hand, depletes your energy resources, and we all know how we can be when we’re hungry, don’t we? Plus, studies have shown that eating and drinking properly can reduce your labor time for a maximum of an hour and a half!
If keeping a track of your eating and drinking is too much for you, then put a reminder on your phone or ask your spouse to get you food and water every 2-3 hours. And remember to eat food that can be easily digested, preferably in a solid-liquid format.
Use aromatherapy to your advantage
Roll your eyes if you must, but if it works, it works. One of the simplest ways to get pain relief during labor is through aromatherapy! And even if you don’t believe in the healing powers of aromatherapy, you cannot deny that science backs the fact being in an environment that stimulates your senses, in this case your sense of smell, positively helps you relax instantly. If it’s an option, you can even opt for a massage.
Use heat pack
Ah, the versatile heat pack that we always reach for in case of a back or stomach ache. But who would have thought that you can use it when you’re undergoing your labor, huh? However, if you’re at a hospital you might have to ask them whether or not they allow you to use wheat heat packs because some heat packs have been known to catch fire in microwaves. If they don’t, then use their gel alternatives.
Test the waters
And I do mean this literally. If your body’s sore or its muscles are tired and tight, then warm water helps loosen them up. And when they become looser, your pains slowly vanish away. Some hospitals and many birthing centers often have laboring tubs or Jacuzzis for this purpose. Whenever you’re inside one, just make sure that the warm jets of water are aimed at the area that’s giving you your pain.
TENS, also known as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, is a machine that works when 2 electrode strips are attached to either side of your back. They then send electrical impulses via a battery unit operated by hand by the nurse. These electrical impulses travel all the way to your brain, where they subdue and block the impulses that generate pain. However, keep in mind that the effectiveness of this method varies greatly from person to person, especially in the later stages of labor/contractions.
Take some pain medication
If nothing else helps, you can always turn to medicine to have some pain relief during labor. Here are some of the most common options opted by women:
Spinal block: This is a medicine that is given to your body via a onetime injection, which is delivered directly into your spinal fluid. However, the relief only lasts on for a couple of hours.
Epidural: Today, modern medicine has advanced to the point where epidurals involve nothing but delivering your medicine (a combination of a local anesthetic and a narcotic) via a hollow and thin tube called a catheter.
Systemic medications: These are delivered via an IV line either into your muscles or directly into your bloodstream. And since they are spread everywhere, they affect your entire body and not a specific part of it.