Many expectant moms are naturally concerned with pain relief during labor. They have heard the horror stories of dry births and excruciating contractions from others and they definitely don’t want to end up in a similar situation. The good news is that pain relief options are varied and many, and even if you do not want excessive medications, epidurals or clinical intervention, there are pain relief options available for you. Essentially, methods to reduce pain are classified in two groups – homeopathic or pharmaceutical.
Before you allow the fear of giving birth to pressure you into a decision on pain relief during labor that is fueled by the unknown, realize that your body is an amazingly designed piece of artwork. When the human body experiences pain and no pain blocks or medications are given the body naturally produces chemicals in the body in order to help you cope. This is why so many women are able to endure a natural labor. This process is interrupted by many drug interventions. Regardless of which way you choose to go with or without pain relief during labor; you have to remember it is important to take care of your emotional and physical wellbeing. For some this may mean delivering unassisted and for others it means getting the epidural as quickly as possible to alleviate apprehension.
Homeopathic Pain Relief During Labor
Homeopathic remedies whether for pain relief or anything else are designed to work with your innate body functions. Many women who want to have a natural birth take classes before delivery to help them deploy some of the more holistic remedies to battling pain. In a sense, holistic measures are often mind over matter but they do use the internal workings of your body as a guide. If you have already decided that you will go with some means of pharmaceutical intervention there is one thing that you should know. You definitely need to learn how to control pain during labor for the simple reason that you labor may move too quickly, stall out or present itself in a situation that doesn’t make you or your baby a candidate for natural birth.
Acupressure and acupuncture have definitely gained popularity over the last 5 years. Acupressure is something that you can learn to do yourself, using pressure points along your body to relieve specific pains. You can also take a class with your spouse and they can learn the proper acupressure techniques and points so they can truly partner with you during your birth. Acupuncture uses the insertion of small needles along these same pressure points. The needles don’t hurt and correspond to nerve endings involved during labor. Both of these modalities are excellent for relieving early labor pains as well as painful back labor. One genuinely useful aspect to acupressure and acupuncture is that it is a proven way to help restart stalled labor, reduce nausea and can help replenish your energy supplies during labor which most definitely is physically exhausting. Many holistic obstetric practitioners also indicate that acupressure or acupuncture can reduce tearing during birth as well.
Learning how to breathe is another very important aspect of pain relief during labor. A simple yogic breath can reduce blood pressure (which gets raised with pain) and can slow your heartbeat down and calm you considerably. When you are able to focus on your breath you also learn to use your breathing to work yourself through labor. This too can be learned alone or with a partner. Taking a few meditation classes and devising a labor meditation all your own can be a great way to increase the power of your mindfulness to reduce pain as well.
Another more holistic method of reducing pain during labor is to try remaining mobile. Many women find that cooped up in a hospital bed with stirrups is not the most desirable way to have a baby. Moving around, talking a walk, squatting and even being able to get on all fours provides pain relief that is due to the positioning of your baby. Often if you go straight for the spinal block or epidural; you won’t have this option.
Pharmaceutical Pain Relief During Labor
The most common analgesics given during labor are either a spinal block or an epidural. Both work on the spinal cord which has some associated risks and essentially numb the lower part of your body. You can still feel light pressure but you will not be able to feel the pain. A spinal block (most often with C-sections) wears off more quickly than an epidural. An anesthesiologist will inject either into a specific area in your spinal column in order to ensure that you do not feel the pains. Then the people assisting you will help you learn when to push with your contractions. It is rare and only in complicated situations that complete anesthesia is offered to patients given birth. In the event of an emergency c-section or some other unforeseen circumstance it can happen, however any medications that you take make their way to your baby as well. Even if you choose to go with an epidural it is worth learning how to breathe, how to work with labor positions and how to do acupressure.
As a woman you know that labor and delivery are going to hurt. However, with some simple preparation and a lot of research you can become relaxed before labor. Knowing that millions of women have gone before you and have done just fine and that many of those same women have gone on to do it again and again should offer some solace. If you are fearful of the pain during labor, you have to choose some sort of pain relief so that you will be less anxious about giving birth. Pain relief during labor is absolutely important and something best discussed with your attending physician.