A growing number of women are opting for natural childbirth in recognition of the health benefits for both themselves and their babies. These women choose to view childbirth as a natural process that their bodies were designed to endure without unnecessary medical interventions. It is, however, clear that electing not to use pain medication during labor can intensify the physical experience of birthing and increase the level of discomfort. Fortunately, there are certain strategies that can be employed to help reduce the degree of pain that a woman has to endure.
The best approach to take with natural childbirth is to plan for it. Very often, if women do not adequately plan for a natural delivery, the experience can be very stressful, and in turn, increase the level of pain felt. When the body is stressed, muscles will naturally tighten and this constriction will increase pain. Thus, proper preparation is essential to help prevent laboring women from becoming overly anxious.
Get Empowered by Others
In order to understand what happens during a natural labor, it is recommended that a pregnant woman connect with other women who have had successful natural childbirths. By speaking to these women and hearing their stories, a woman can begin to feel assured that natural childbirth is indeed possible. Often, just knowing that someone else-like her-has done it allows her to feel as though it is possible for her to do it too. It is extremely important for a woman to believe she is capable of going through a natural childbirth; otherwise, fear and doubt will dominate once the pain of regular contractions begins. Receiving encouraging support from other women-even one very enthusiastic woman-is vital to help offset the psychological effects from years of only hearing about the impossible pain of childbirth.
Hypnosis is a wonderful tool to utilize in preparation for natural childbirth. Hypnosis works by affecting the subconscious part of the brain-that part of the brain that governs much of what we believe without conscious awareness. By undergoing hypnosis with a trained specialist, women are able to access their subconscious and imbed new beliefs which support their goal of having a natural labor.
Women should ask for a CD copy of their hypnotherapy session and then listen to it frequently in preparation for the birthing. Often playing the CD before bed is ideal as the speed and tone of the voice of the hypno-therapist is intended to relax the mind into a deeper state of consciousness.
Rescue Remedy Is Calming
Many midwives and doulas come to births with Rescue Remedy in hand. Rescue Remedy is a homeopathic product-completely safe during pregnancy-that helps with relaxation. Made from very diluted plant essences, the remedy helps to calm the body when it is experiencing stress.
Because the effects can be felt within minutes, it is very useful for labors that come on quickly. As noted above, it is often stress that increases labor pain as it tightens the body and works against the natural progression of labor. Using any method that relaxes the body is helpful to reducing labor aches.
Magnesium is a mineral that also works to relax muscles and therefore may have a beneficial affect on the pain of contractions. Taking magnesium for a few weeks prior to labor and then increasing the dose at the onset of labor can help to significantly reduce the extra pain that tight muscles will bring on.
Use Breathing Techniques
There are many natural birthing approaches that employ the use of special breathing techniques during labor. The premise is that if a woman focuses on controlling her breathing she can work with her body’s natural rhythms and support rather than impede birthing.
It is beneficial to begin practicing these techniques with a labor partner in preparation for labor so that the partner clearly knows how to support the birthing women while she is in the throws of pain. These techniques can be learned through prenatal classes or even through books.
One of the many advantages of a natural childbirth is that a woman is free to move around however much she desires. Moving the body is desirable for most women because it allows them to move or walk off the pain. Lying down on a hospital bed often intensifies the feeling of contractions because it is not a natural laboring position. A laboring woman should explore various movements and positions to discover what feels best for her. Walking, dancing and even pushing against her birthing partner are all forms of movement that have worked for women.
Water Therapy Helps Alleviate Pain
Using water during labor can also help to reduce the intensity of pain. Many women enjoy sitting in a bathtub or a Jacuzzi, claiming it helps them better deal with contractions. Many hospital birthing centers are now being designed with Jacuzzis so it may be worthwhile to do a hospital tour to find out if your birthing place is equipped with one.
Music is Motivating
Music can have a powerful effect on us and can often serve to either relax or energize us depending upon what we are listening to. Many women choose to play their favorite music while laboring because it helps to motivate them in whichever direction they need to move. Relaxing music may be appropriate for early stages of labor, while more inspiring and energizing varieties would be more suitable towards the end of a longer labor or close to push time.
Find Comfort in Favorite Food or Drinks
Follow your instincts and eat and drink when your body tells you to. Often, the taste of a favorite food or drink can help refocus our attention on something other than pain. A good example is a natural fruit popsicle, which can help provide the body with some natural sugar for energy and also serve to make a woman feel more comfortable especially if she is delivering in the middle of summer.