We have all heard the stories about how incredibly painful it is to give birth, but that hasn’t stopped a large number of women in recent years from deciding on a more holistic approach to the process.
At Women’s Health Partners, we fully support a patient’s decision to do what is right for their body. We also want to provide as much education and information about these methods, and when they may no longer be a safe option to pursue. No matter what you decide, our OBGYN providers are here to help educate all expecting mothers about their options when it comes to pain management during childbirth.
Natural Labor Pain Relief Techniques
For women looking to achieve a completely natural labor and delivery, there are several options when it comes to effective pain relief. These techniques are best for those who are able to safely complete a natural birth without a high risk for potential health complications of mom and/or baby.
Many moms can find it difficult to lie in a hospital bed as soon as their labor starts all the way until their child is born. Getting up to walk around the room can help to not only distract from painful contractions, but can also assist during the delivery by letting gravity take its natural effect on the baby and pull it gently downward. Utilization of a birthing ball, rocking chair, or other strategic positioning can also be encouraging for the birthing process.
This particular tip may seem rather minor, but it can have a huge impact on the relaxation of the body during delivery. Deep breathing techniques help to not only focus the mind, but also to cause a bodily response to loosen tension within the patient’s muscles.
Massage and Reflexology
Massage may also be used to help a woman relax her muscles during childbirth. There is often a significant degree of variation between the massage methods used and how beneficial they are for the individual using them, so be sure to try out a few to find which is best for you.
Reflexology is a particular process used to strategically apply pressure to specific areas of the body. The primary focus of reflexology is the individual’s feet and how the nerve endings located in the feet can be manipulated to relieve tension and reduce pain.
Another common solution to naturally relieve labor pains is to implement the use of a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) unit toward the beginning of the delivery. This device is meant to inhibit pain signals as they travel toward the brain. Stimulations from the TENS unit can be increased along with the woman’s pain level so that it remains consistent in its ability to relieve discomfort from her contractions.
Other Natural Pain Management Methods
There are of course several other approaches that individuals can take when trying to manage their pain during labor and delivery. In addition to those mentioned above, the following are other common pain relief practices that may be used during childbirth:
- Bathing or remaining partially submerged in water
- Music therapy
- Having your partner as a birthing coach (the Bradley Method)
Knowing the Risks of Natural Childbirth
While natural births have certainly grown in popularity, they are still not a suitable option for every single expectant mother. Obstetric anesthetics are often used to relieve pain during delivery, along with other modern medicines and techniques to keep both mom and baby safe throughout the birthing process.
Women involved in a high-risk pregnancy are often not encouraged to attempt a natural birth. Pregnancies are typically categorized as being high-risk if the mother has a known medical condition that may interfere with the development or birth of the fetus, such as diabetes, a thyroid disorder, uterine fibroids, and more. Women’s Health Partners will be able to diagnose and routinely monitor these types of existing conditions all throughout the length of a woman’s pregnancy to help avoid any severe outcomes.
There are also a number of complications that can arise while a woman is in labor, making it critical for her to receive additional medical treatment and care in order to safely deliver her baby. These common labor complications include:
- Fetal distress
- Uterine rupture
- Perinatal asphyxia
- Excessive bleeding
- Failure to progress
- Shoulder dystocia
- Placenta previa
- Cephalopelvic disproportion
To learn more about the safety of your pregnancy and the potential of a natural delivery, please contact Women’s Health Partners to schedule a consultation with one of our specialists today!