Contractions (or “waves” or “surges”) can be uncomfortable, but you don’t have to suffer…
And I don’t mean you have to take drugs either (unless you want to!)
There’s a narrative around birth that can make even the most hard-core woman reach for that epidural without a thought.
But what if there is another way?
Speaking as a woman who birthed my son using most of the tools below, I want to start with some wonderful news: Your body naturally produces the drugs you need to get through the pain.
And as a result in learning these methods, you may be able to dramatically reduce pain without pain.
But it all starts in your mind – how confident are you in getting through the pain with breath & relaxation techniques?
Relaxation Techniques for Labor
One of the best ways to relax during labor is to learn to isolate different muscle groups in your body. By learning to relax the rest of your muscle groups, you can focus on allowing most of your oxygen to travel to your uterus.
To learn how to relax your body during contractions, you can work with a doula (or watch a ton of youtube videos like I did before hiring my doula!)
The goal is learning how to relax your entire body while one muscle contracts. How long you will be able to keep doing this throughout labor depends on how skilled you are at relaxing your muscles and the type of labor you are having.
You may also benefit from Hypnobirthing
This is one of my favorite techniques because it’s right in line with guided meditation. Hypnobirthing is defined as:
HypnoBirthing® is a unique method of relaxed, natural childbirth education enhanced by self‑hypnosis and guided imagery techniques that allow women to use their natural abilities to bring about safer, easier, and more comfortable birthing.
Along with relaxation, you can also use different breathing techniques for each stage of labor.
But it’s important to know the different breathing techniques to use throughout labor because certain breathing methods can accelerate or slow labor progression.
Your breath is an awesome tool for maintaining control during one of your life’s most vulnerable moments.
Shameless plug here: Our class, Birth Harmony is a couples Hypnobirthing class, but combines methods of pain management and evidence based birth from Bradley, Lamaze, and even couples somatic practices (for regulating the nervous system).
Now you may be thinking…
“I’m getting a Cesarian/Epidural – this doesn’t really apply to me”
And to that, I would say that babies come when they want, how they want.
I’ve heard several stories of babies coming before the epidural could even be administered or before the scheduled C-birth. All that to say: it really helps to be prepared for plan A to Z.
I’ll end with saying that there is no “right” way to birth your baby. With or without drugs, what’s best for you is what’s best. And making an educated decision places the power in your hands to be ready for whatever happens.
Disclosure: If you are a high-risk pregnancy and must have a medically-assisted birth, you can still benefit from these techniques. However, this article is not medical advice and not meant to replace the council of your provider. Please always consult your doctor/midwife regarding the use of these methods and if you have any questions or concerns, consult a medical professional. If you don’t feel comfortable with the medical advice provided by your current practitioner, it’s encouraged your seek a second opinion.