My nurse checked the contraction on the monitor. “This contraction should be over very soon, just keep breathing, you’re doing great,” she reassured me. The monitor showed that it was lowering in intensity so I was comforted by the thought that I would get a break.
But the pain didn’t stop!
The little line went back up and plateaued for about 15 minutes as nurses came filing into the room. All of them offering words of encouragement that didn’t really register, but created a calming white noise effect. I abandoned my breathing and all reservations of how I looked to these other women or my husband. Flipping from my back to my hands and knees, I rocked and hummed and breathed.
Hallelujah, it worked!
Finally, the mountain plateau that was on the monitor came down and I got to rest for a few minutes. All the nurses seemed impressed and asked if it was really my first time giving birth. Yes, I had no idea what I was getting into! And after four children that was still the worst contraction I’ve ever experienced.
Some would say that I’m tough, but in reality I’m deathly afraid of huge needles going into my back! So, I labor naturally because for me, there is no other option. If you’re deciding on what path you want to take with your delivery, my piece of advice is to go in with an open mind.
Each and every labor experience is different and every woman has a different threshold of pain. If you go into labor only wanting one thing, you may be disappointed or feel bad about doing something different.
Don’t. Go with your gut and make the experience your own.
Of course there is some pain involved with every delivery so here are 5 Ways to Ease Labor Pain that I’ve used with all my children.
Ease Your Labor Pains
When I was pregnant with my third child I was also caring for 3-4 other children in my home preschool on any given day. My due date was a week after Christmas vacation ended and I was hoping that my son would come a little early so I wouldn’t inconvenience my students’ parents.
That didn’t happen. So, I was caring for kids when I started having labor pains. I didn’t want to call the parents home from work too early if I didn’t have to so I waited until the usual pick up time and then sped off to the hospital.
I really didn’t feel too bad and was worried that we had come in too soon and they would make me walk around and around in circles in the halls of the labor and delivery unit. I wasn’t soon enough.
The nurse calmly checked my uterus and then got this wide eyed look.
I was 8 centimeters dilated already and as she hurriedly pushed my bed into a delivery room she said that I didn’t look like I was in labor at all, totally fooled her! That brings me to my first pain control technique.
As soon as I feel a little contraction I put a menstrual heat pad on. They are activated by the heat in your skin, stay warm for about 8 hours and you can get them anywhere. Just like any muscle cramp, the heat helps the muscle relax. You could also take a warm bath and most hospitals and birthing centers let you take one in the delivery room.
2. Cat Pose
Yoga during labor? Well not exactly. I just think this is a better name for getting on your hands and knees. If you are having back labor, this is THE position to get in. Rocking, humming, and having your spouse push on your lower back, bottom, or hips toward your head will really help relieve your pain; when I say push I mean REALLY hard. Make sure you continue to breathe while getting into different poses.
In fact, try any position that makes you feel better. Don’t be self conscious! Do what feels right and listen to your body.
Seems like common sense right? There are lots of different breathing strategies, but all help to distract yourself from the pain and deliver more oxygen to you and baby.
I used the breathing coach method. My husband would put up a number with his fingers and that is how many breaths I would take. I never knew what number would come next so instead of thinking about the pain, I was concentrating on how many breaths I needed to take. If he held up 4 fingers, I would take 3 short “hee” breaths and one big deep “hooo” breath. Another technique that worked was to start with 5 breathing patterns (hee-hee-hee-hee-hooo’s), work my way down to 1 (hooo) and then go back up to 5.
Whatever breathing strategy you use, it is worth it. Take your time practicing different techniques to see which one you like the most.
Focus on anything you can that will distract you from your pain. Is there a game that you like to play, Candy Crush perhaps? A book you like to read? A picture of you in Hawaii you can focus on while you breathe? Remember to bring these things and see if they help.
With my 2nd child, I was shopping when my contractions first started. I was so focused on getting everything on my list before the baby came that I barely felt any pain in the beginning. I wouldn’t do this now because I’ve had a lot of kids and my labors are really quick, but if this is your first time shopping might do the trick!
Although there is nothing like the real deal, labor pain will be a lot less severe for you if you prepare yourself by exposing yourself to natural pain. If you already experience braxton hicks, try not to take any pain relievers and focus on what that pain feels like so you won’t be surprised when you start experiencing real labor.
I tried not to take anything for head aches or back pain during my pregnancy because I just don’t like taking medicine all the time, but it also prepared my mind for what was coming. If you’re used to the sensation, it is a lot easier to deal with.
Another way to prepare is to make a birth plan. If the pain gets really intense what pain management techniques do you want to use? Are you open to the suggestions your Doctor or Midwife have for you? Mapping out the steps you would like to take helps providers take better care of you. You won’t have to tell everyone what you want while trying to deal with the pain; they’ll already know what to expect.
How do you deal with labor pain? I’d love to hear some new tips to try with my next delivery.
For more on pregnancy and newborns, like me on Facebook or follow on Pinterest!