Whether you’re planning on a more natural approach to childbirth or you want a traditional childbirth experience, including pain medications, labor and delivery is a process. And even with medication, you will likely experience sensations that are new or uncomfortable. Even if you’ve had babies before, you may have a different experience or symptoms this time around. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make the most out of your labor and delivery.
Childbirth is one of the most natural events in the human experience. And though there are things women can do to make childbirth more comfortable, which of those things work vary from woman to woman. If you decide you don’t want to take medication, that’s fine. And if you do want to, that’s fine too. There’s no shame in either decision. You have to do what you believe is best for you and your baby. And with the help of your health care team and your partner, you should be able to come up with a plan to help you have the best labor and delivery you can.
There are many ways to help you stay comfortable and relaxed during labor.
There’s no shame in taking medication during labor and delivery. You may decide that you want to try things without medication, but if you change your mind, let your health care provider know, and in most cases, you should be able to get mediation.
In addition to helping reduce or eliminate the pain of labor, medication may also help your labor progress faster. If you are in pain, it’s harder for your body to fully relax, , but when you take medication, you may have an easier time relaxing, which may speed up the process.
Non-medicated ways to stay comfortable
There are many non-pharmacologic ways to stay comfortable during labor. They may help provide comfort and relieve stress. They are great for both natural childbirth and traditional childbirth because they can help you feel confident, relaxed and in control of the process.
- Breathing techniques. There are different types of breathing and breathing patterns that can help you direct your mind away from the discomforts of labor.
- Visualization. Visualization helps you focus on an object or task, such as breathing, to help you through the pain and discomfort of labor and to encourage your body to relax and do what it’s supposed to do.
- Guided imagery. Guided imagery a technique used to help you form mental pictures and transport yourself mentally to another place. This can help you relax cope with the difficulties of labor.
- Positioning and movement. Many women find changing positions and moving around during labor helps relieve discomfort and may help speed labor along. Rocking in a rocking chair, sitting in the "Tailor sit" position, sitting on a "birthing ball," walking and swaying may be helpful to relieve discomfort. Your health care provider can help you find comfortable positions that are also safe for you and your baby.
- Massage. This may include massage or light stroking to relieve tension. Effleurage is a type of self-massage that some women find very helpful.
- Heat or cold therapy. This type of therapy uses the therapeutic benefits of heat and/or cold to help relax tensed or painful areas of the body. Many women find that a warmed towel or cold pack (or both intermittently) can be helpful.
- Hydrotherapy. Some Beaumont labor and delivery rooms have hydrotherapy tubs, including the suites in the Karmanos Center for Natural Birth. Hydrotherapy can be helpful in easing pain and aiding in relaxation during labor. A shower during labor may also be effective.
- HypnoBirthing®-The Mongan Method. This option can help women enter a trance-like state, which may help aid in relaxation and can help labor advance more quickly and naturally.
- Music therapy. Some women find that music can help them relax or can help them focus on something other than their discomfort. All Beaumont labor and delivery rooms are equipped with iPod and iPhone compatible speakers.
- Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy may help women feel more comfortable or at home during labor. There are some scents that are thought to have relaxation and pain reducing effects as well.