Natural Pain Coping

Before you reach for the drugs during childbirth – why not give these a try. I think I used pretty much every one during my three drug-free home births.

  • Personal Support- be it from a partner, your mother, a doula (who is a professional birth supporter) or a midwife. A study showed that the presence of an active birth supporter speeded up the birth process and reduced the amount of interventions- use of epidural for example reduced from 55% to only 8%
  • Antenatal classes and books - read,read, read! The more you prepare the better, but however much you know you can’t birth with your brain, it’s your body that’ll do it, so prepare your body too!
  • Practices- use sound (groaning, chanting, screaming, swearing, singing) to help get through the pain. Using the breath and movements and gravity to help move the baby down.
  • Drugs- your options include pethidine or an epidural. Also consider homeopathic and herbal pssiblilities, especially motherwort, calendula and arnica to aid healing afterwards.
  • Inner Resources: meditation, self-hypnosis, breathing techniques
  • Physical Resources- Water in all its forms to calm and relax, be it a bath, a shower or a birthing pool. Cool face cloths for sweaty brows. Hot water bottles for aching backs. Glasses of water to wet the mouth between contractions.
  • Massage and pressure on the lower back and hips. Back rubs. A TENS machine.
  • Birth balls to keep upright and mobile. Changing positiions often, using your partner for support. A birth stool. A toilet.

Top Tips for Pain coping

  • Do consider a large range of options and have then on hand – try not to close your mind to things before the event.
  • Find out the side effects of drugs to make an informed choice.
  • Learn a number of ways of pain coping so you have a big bag of tricks to go in with
  • Take it one contraction at a time, give each your full focus then let it go- don’t get caught in “labour maths”- taking 10 hours to get to 5 centimetres dilated doesn’t mean it will take another 10 hours to get to full dilation.

 Labour hurts, it’s hard work and you can do it!

Great books:

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth – Henci Goer.

Birthing from Within- Pam England

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth- Ina May Gaskin