Looking for ways to lessen the pain of childbirth is common among pregnant women.
No one can predict the level of pain you will feel during childbirth because every birth and every woman is different.
While you can’t predict how your birth will go you can take steps to lessen the pain of childbirth.
Some women claim to feel no pain during childbirth with these pain relief options.
Today we’ll talk about your pain relief options while giving birth and other ways you can lessen your chances of a painful birth while you’re still pregnant.
17 Ways To Lessen The Pain Of Childbirth
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*I am not a doctor. This information should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice. I advise you to consult with your doctor for all your pregnancy and health needs*
Medication For Pain Relief During Childbirth
One of your pain relief options that can lessen the pain of childbirth or even eliminate it completely is medication.
Here are a few of your options.
An epidural is the most common and effective pain relief medication for giving birth.
An epidural is regional anesthesia that blocks pain in a particular part of the body.
You will need IV fluids before you get your epidural.
You will them be asked to curve your back and stay still while lying on your side or sitting up. An antiseptic is used to wipe your lower back to minimize the chance of infection.
Your lower back will be injected with a local anesthetic to numb it. Then a needle is inserted into the numbed area surrounding the spinal cord in the lower back.
Afterwards a small tube called a catheter is threaded through the needle into the epidural space. The needle is removed, leaving the catheter in place to provide medication through periodic injections or by continuous infusion.
Please keep in mind and prepare for the fact that epidurals work differently for everyone.
Most women report a pain free birth. Myself and other women get relief from contractions but feel “the ring of fire” when baby comes out.
You’ll be happy to hear only 1% of women report the epidural not working at all.
Some women fear the pain of the epidural being inserted, but I assure you you really don’t need to.
My epidural needed to be inserted three times because it wasn’t going in right. The pain was a small pinch compared to the pain of the contractions I was feeling.
Afterwards I joked that she could have drove that needle into my forehead if it would relieve the pain I was in from contractions.
If you’re trying to avoid an epidural various opioids can be used to lessen the pain of labor.
Opioids won’t numb you but rather take the “edge” off.
They can be injected into a muscle or given through IV.
Nitrous oxide is an odorless and tasteless gas that you can inhale during labor. You administer the anesthetic gas using a hand-held face mask.
Like opioids, nitrous oxide relives pain but does not numb you.
Non-medical Pain Relief During Childbirth
If you are trying to avoid an epidural or looking for pain management options for labor while you are waiting to get your epidural you can try the non-medical pain relief options below.
Massage can be used during labor to help distract women from the pain and help them relax by releasing feel good endorphins.
Learn more here.
Heat packs can be applied to the back, pubic bone, or neck to help you relax and relive pain during labor.
Moan Instead Of Screaming
Do not over looked this crucial piece of advice to lessen the pain of childbirth.
During my first birth I was screaming through contractions when a nurse very politely suggested I try to moan through them instead.
Making a very low moaning sound relaxes your jaw and body as opposed to screaming which tenses your body.
For me personally moaning instead of screaming significantly lessened to pain of childbirth.
But, like I said, everyone is different. Try it out, but if it’s not working make whatever noises you need to.
Aromatherapy is thought to decrease anxiety and tension resulting in less pain during childbirth.
A favorite among women is lavender. Studies have shown that women reported less pain during labor when lavender is used as aromatherapy.
Entering into a state of self hypnosis can lessen the pain of childbirth by changing the way you perceive pain.
Hypnobirthing classes can teach you self hypnosis techniques and if you aren’t able to attend classes they do have books and recordings you can listen to.
After the birth experience I had, I am seriously considering hypnosis as a method for pain relief during childbirth.
Acupuncture And Acupressure
With acupuncture tiny needles are inserted into the body to correct your energy balance.
Acupressure is similar to acupuncture but instead of needles, fingers, thumbs and knuckles are used to apply pressure to the body to correct your energy balance.
If you would like to try acupuncture and acupressure you can hire a trained doula to preform them on you during labor.
A TENS machine is a hand-held device connected to electrodes that are attached to your skin.
Women operate the TENS machine themselves by sending a mild electric pulse along their nerves to the spinal cord and brain that relieves pain.
Breathe Baby Out
During my birth I never felt an urge to push. When I was told to start pushing I felt it was way too early.
I ended up pushing for 3.5 hours. I was beyond exhausted and the pain I felt from childbirth was traumatizing for me.
In all my research since then and listening to other women’s experiences lessening the pain of childbirth by breathing baby out instead of pushing, this is another technique I want to try.
Here are a few articles I encourage you to check out:
How To Reduce The Pain of Childbirth Before Labor Starts
You do not need to wait until labor to start your labor pain management efforts. Here is a list of ways you can lessen your chance of a painful labor and delivery throughout your pregnancy.
Exercising and staying fit throughout your pregnancy is good for the health of you and your baby, but it can also help you feel less pain during labor.
Doing kegel exercises and squats will strengthen your pelvic floor giving you the strength to push your baby out.
Studies have found that regular exercise during pregnancy has lead to a shorter labor as well.
Woman who eat dates during pregnancy are having easier labors!
More specifically women who eat 6 dates a day during the last four weeks of pregnancy were more likely to go into labor on their own and have a shorter labor than non-date eaters.
If you can avoid having to be induced with pitocin you will increase your chances of a less painful labor.
A delicious way to get your six dates a day are with Larabars.
Drink Raspberry Leaf Tea
Drinking raspberry leaf tea is said to help induce labor and lead to a shorter labor.
Raspberry leaf tea helps tone the uterus making contractions more effective during labor.
Hypnosis is the state of heightened relaxation in the mind and body.
During hypnosis the mind becomes more receptive to suggestions.
A hypnotherapist can reprogram your subconscious with positive suggestion so when you go into labor you are more calm and less focused on pain.
They can also teach you self hypnosis which we talked about as a way to lessen the pain of childbirth during labor.
Take Birth Classes
Birth classes are crucial for preparing your mind for labor and delivery.
They’re also one of the 8 Health Insurance Benefits Pregnant Women Don’t Know Their Insurance Covers.
By being prepared you lower your fear and anxiety about childbirth which will in turn lower your pain.
Last but not least we have perineal massage.
Perineal massage involves massaging the tissues that shape the birth canal.
Doing so during your last 4 weeks of pregnancy significantly increases your chance of delivering vaginally without tearing.
Read more about perineal massage here.
There are many effective medical and non medical ways to lessen the pain of childbirth.
Being prepared and looking into these pain relief options can help you have a more enjoyable labor and delivery.
Talk to your doctor about your pain relief options and create a birth plan that’s right for you.