Ways to Help Yourself Cope with Labour

Pain in labour is not usually focused in one area. It can affect several parts of your body, either all at the same time, or by coming and going. It may make you  uncomfortable so that you need to find a position that will help you relax.

Pain can also affect how your body functions so that you may feel or be sick, have problems passing urine or controlling your bowels, and may make you feel overwhelmed by the way your body is responding.  Knowing these things can help in themselves by enabling you to think positively, which in turn will reduce your anxiety about the unknown.

Although there has been little formal research in this area, there is recognition of the following suggestions:
 
  • visualising a positive outcome to your labour, such as holding your baby in your arms
  • thinking positively about the strength and reliability of your body and whatit is capable of – “My body is strong and working well
  • the use of breathing under your specific control, the Lamaze techniqueis one form of this
  • the use of music that you find calming or empowering
  • the use of meditation or prayer.
 
It is suggested that you seek advice from your midwife in the antenatal period and go to appropriate antenatal preparation to get a better understanding of how these approaches might be of use to you. If you feel in control and can get some measure of relaxation despite feelings of anxiety, discomfort or pain, you will feel better able to manage your labour. What might seem to be simple things can make a difference and you can choose what you do and when you want to do these, regardless of where you are.
 
You can choose to walk or move around, to sit or to stand up; you can also choose to lie down but you are likely to feel the pain more intensely in this position.
 
Having parts of your body massaged can be very helpful. This might be your back or your legs, shoulders or hands; just having your hand held offers indefinable support that can just make that bit of difference when you are breathing through a contraction.

The use of heat or cold, hot compresses or ice packs can help release tension in muscles, especially low back pain.

 
 

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