Five drug-free ways to reduce pain during labour.
While active birth is likely to be one of life’s greatest experiences, giving birth hurts.
There are plenty of drugs on offer that can help with pain, but for many parents-to-be, natural pain relief is what they’re after.
For others, it may be too late in the piece to administer pain relief drugs, so they too will be looking for a natural alternative to help ease the burn.
So, what can you do? We asked Midwife, Liz Wilkes her top tips for relieving pain without medication.
According to Liz, jumping in the shower is a super easy and pretty much universally accessible natural pain relief strategy for labour.
“There are several different ways a shower works - the pressure of the water acts on the gate theory of pain relief altering the pathway by which the nervous system recognises pain, confusing it and providing a distraction to the pain pathways.
“Additionally, the heat soothes and relaxes the body, particularly the muscles in the back, shoulders and abdomen.
“The feeling of being in a small, safe space and the noise and rhythmic sound of the way a shower can work.”
The weightlessness of a bath can also help, and is often called ‘nature's epidural’.
“Using acupressure with a simple hair comb pressed into the palm of the hand across the creases in the hand is a simple effective strategy that can be combined with nearly every other option,” explains Liz.
Acupressure points are stimulated in the hand, increasing natural endorphin release and assisting the body’s own strategies to deal with labour and birth.
Massage and heat
Massage works on several levels. Firstly, relaxing the body through direct pressure and work on muscles.
“Secondly, as the muscles relax, the baby may move, changing the progress of labour and any discomforts that a malposition of baby may cause,” says Liz.
“The touch involved with massage also releases oxytocin that helps again release endorphins to help individual coping.”
Hypnobirthing or hypnotherapy
Hypnobirthing works on your mind being in a deeply relaxed state.
According to Liz, this then enables the secretion of hormones and uses a series of triggers to help the body remain deeply relaxed, assisting the birthing progress and also reducing pain pathways.
Combining any of the above techniques with pain-relieving heat can also take the support and pain relief up a notch!
As well as dilating the blood vessels, stimulating blood circulation, and reducing muscle spasms, heat can also alter the sensation of pain.
Our heat packs are filled with Australian grown Lupins, and can be secured in place for hands free movement during labour. There is no odour, and they won’t sweat.