When it comes to labor, every woman is different. Some want pain relief as soon as possible, others want to wait as long as they can, others want to avoid medical pain relief altogether. Regardless of whether or not you choose an epidural or other pain medication, it’s likely that you will experience pain at some point during labor and so it's best to be prepared.
There are many different techniques that can provide women relief from labor pains. Here are some the most common techniques you should be familiar with before baby is on his way:
Preparing for what to expect during the birthing process is important for all women, regardless of how you choose to manage your pain. When you understand the stages of labor and when pain relief measures can be taken, then you’ll be better equipped mentally for what lays ahead. And if you're planning a natural birth, taking a class will help give you the opportunity to practice the techniques you'll use on the big day.
North Florida Regional Medical Center has several recurrent childbirth classes for you to choose from.
Research on effective pain management in labor (summarized in the American Family Physician) has found that women who receive continuous labor support, often by a doula, have lower use of pain medication and increased birth satisfaction.
A doula is someone trained in labor support who stays with a woman throughout the labor process. Even if you don't use a doula, you should have a trained birth partner who knows how to help you when pain hits. A birth partner can be a spouse, family member, or friend – someone who you trust and are very comfortable with.
Whoever you choose, you and your birth partner should practice:
Different positions can dramatically help women cope with labor pains while aiding labor progress. Here are some of the most common helpful positions:
Your birth partner should know some of these helpful positions, but midwives and the nursing staff can also suggest positions depending on your pain.
There are many other ways to help manage labor pains. Here are a few common techniques:
Even if you’re just waiting for your epidural, learning about various techniques for dealing with labor pain is always a good idea, as is having a team of maternity providers that you trust.
The obstetricians and midwives at Gainesville's All About Women want to help you prepare for the big day and all that lies beyond.