10 Ways to Help Contraction Pain

When you first find out you’re pregnant, it’s easy to get carried away with the excitement. You’ve got nurseries to plan, outfits to pick out, and an unthinkable list of other things to get ready. Included in your preparation is creating a birthing plan with your doctor. This step is taken very seriously, as mothers and doctors alike know how important it is to plan for the unexpected.

Regardless of whether you’re planning for a natural birth or a birth aided by medication, it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re educated regarding all potential courses of action.

Since there are many ways that you will be able to help ease your contraction pain naturally, it’s recommended to try these first to avoid any drug intervention. At the end of this article, we will make a special note on the use of epidurals, but first lets take a look at the top 10 ways to help contraction pain naturally.

1. Create a Comfortable Environment

Your environment has more of an impact on you than you’d imagine. If you’re in a stressful area, your anxiety will increase and you’ll start to pay attention to things that are going wrong. If you’re in a soothing environment, it will be easier for you to get comfortable and relax, which is essential in pain relief

During your birthing plan, take the time to create a comfortable environment—one that will give you everything you need come delivery day.

We recommend having your room include a few of the following necessities, all of which will help sooth your mind, body, and soul on the big day:

  • Access to a private bathtub
  • Multiple chairs for different positions
  • A birthing ball
  • A comfortable bed
  • Soothing imagery
  • A squatting bar
  • The perfect company

The final point will take a bit more work, but it will make all of the difference. Build your dream team throughout your pregnancy and you will feel much better being surrounded by people you’ve built a relationship with and trust.

2. Educate Yourself

Labor is often viewed as a scary experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Educate yourself with books, articles, videos, and through speaking with your doctor. When you know what to expect, it becomes familiar and makes things less scary. This leads to fewer surprises while you’re in labor, which means a more comfortable delivery from all sides.

Remember, if you have any fears about delivery, it’s better to understand them before you go into labor. Don’t be afraid to bring anything up to your doctor. Chances are, they’ve heard it all before!

3. Move Around

Contrary to what you think, getting up and moving around will do wonders for labor pains. Staying mobile helps with pain relief itself as well as how you deal with it. When you move around, your mind isn’t staying localized on one spot.

Plus, getting up and walking around, or simply staying in an upright position, will help shorten your labor—sometimes up to over an hour—and is healthier for your baby’s delivery!

4. Change Positions

If you don’t feel comfortable getting up and walking around, simply changing positions will also help. Have an experienced midwife or nurse available to help you move positions, or make sure your partner knows how to help before delivery day. Some good position changes include:

  • Standing up or leaning on your bed
  • Kneeling down on a mat or pillow
  • Sitting on a birthing ball
  • Kneeling down with a raised leg to help open your pelvis
  • Getting down on all fours
  • Lying on your side, not your back!
  • Rocking your hips in a swaying motion

5. Work on Rhythmic Breathing

Another tried and true method for relieving pain of any kind is rhythmic breathing. Paying attention to your breath is a great way to find relief for contraction pains. Don’t focus on what you sound like, focus on how it makes you feel.

Practice your breathing during your pregnancy and explore your options when you go into labor. Some women find that making low grunts during breathing helps, while others produce a more shrill sound—but don’t be embarrassed to let it all out.

6. Evoke Positive Imagery and Visualization Techniques

While breathing, work on evoking positive imagery or using good visualization techniques. Again, this is better when worked on during pregnancy and will help keep your mind off of the labor.

If all else fails, create a good focal point in your delivery room and use it throughout your labor. Focusing on a static point is a great mental distraction.

7. Relax

Similar to creating a soothing environment on the outside, you need to have a clam mind. Relaxing your mind is arguably one of the most important things to do during labor. This is because when you fear of any pain or complications, you tense up, which makes the pain worse and the labor more difficult, which makes your mind act up, and so on and so forth.

It’s a vicious cycle that doesn’t do you any good.

Practice good relaxation techniques before going into labor, like evoking positive imagery and perfecting your breathing, and include some external relaxation techniques during your room set up.

Try having some of your favorite aromatherapy fill the room, play calming music that will help you focus on your breaths or imagery, and dim the lights. Bright hospital lights are jarring and anything but relaxing. If it’s safe, light some candles.

Do whatever you need to do to evoke relaxing feelings and a soothed mind.

8. Prepare Warm and Cool Compresses

If you’ve ever had aching muscles, you’ve probably turned to a warm bath, cloth bag, or heated massage. That’s because applying warmth is a great way to help ease the pain of tensing muscles. The same thought process applies to labor pains.

Since your uterus contracting rapidly causes labor pains, using a warmed, cloth bag or water bag to relieve any discomfort will help.

Use warm compresses to place on your abdomen and lower back. It’s also recommended to place a warm compress on your perineum right before you start pushing to help encourage softening and stretching of the tissues for labor.

Use cold compresses to place across your face, neck, and upper chest. Each of which will help ease pain, reduce nausea, and help calm your mind. Having extra ice packs handy will also be good for post delivery, as they reduce swelling when used immediately.

9. Use Water Therapy

The same thought is applied to getting into a warm bath—as long as the water is not too hot. If you have a bath and/or shower in your birthing room, try taking a warm shower or bath. Always stay supervised so you don’t slip and have your partner help ease the pain with a soothing light massage.

If you’re in a lot of pain, consider using a birthing pool or bath for delivery. There has been a lot of research showing that birthing pools reduce the need for epidurals or spinals in women in labor.

10. Have Someone Use Gentle Massage Techniques

Massages always leave you feeling relaxed and cleansed. If anything else, a massage from your partner will help you feel more relaxed, which in turn helps ease labor pains. Have you partner be prepared for this and always communicate what you need during delivery.

If all else fails, talk to your doctor about using an epidural. Epidurals have come a long way and are now administered much more effectively without the need for a large, painful shot.1 Plus, they’re extremely safe, effective, and will help you push through your labor and delivery much easier.

Conclusion

Labor is different for every woman. Some are blessed with contractions that lead to delivery in less than an hour while others are left waiting through the long hours of the night. Regardless of what your situation is or turns into, always be prepared. Use these 10 ways to help ease your contraction pain naturally and discuss your birthing plan and options with your doctor. It’s always better to understand your options before you’re in pain, so discuss when and/or if you’ll opt for an epidural. During your pre-delivery planning, don’t forget to head over to Byram Healthcare to browse all of our available manual and electric breast pumps. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, expectant mothers can receive an electric breast pump covered by their insurance provider!

To share your experience with labor pains and how you persevered, head over to our Facebook page today and leave a comment! We love hearing stories from our readers and our community of expectant mothers is grateful to learn from first-hand experiences.

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