This post is based on a graphic that Birth Arts International posted called A-Z Pain Relief in Labor.
Essential oils used properly can be helpful for a number of things during labor. In the book Essential Oil for Maternity by AromaTools, lavender, clary sage, ylang ylang, basil and the doTerra specific oils Balance and Whisper are supposed to help with labor pains.
B. Birth Ball
I loved my birth ball during my last labor. Bouncing on it can help. Doing large circles with your hips or figure 8s can help with a malpositioned baby or when contractions aren’t becoming regular.
Massage, gentle touch, hair brushing are some favorite ways that contact can help.
A great doula will know and employ many of the methods listed here to help with pain relief during your labor.
E. Emotional Freedom Technique
The Birth Whisperer has an interesting video on EFT during labor.
F. Focal Point
Lamaze used to teach to use a focal point during labor to focus on as a way to distract yourself from labor pain. I have seen a picture of a beautiful place that you would like to go recommended, a photo of your family, or using a picture from your ultrasound to remind you that you will get to meet the baby in that picture when. labor is over.
I feel like this one can be interpreted a couple of different ways. Living a life of gratitude can lead to a more joyful life. By focusing on things that your are grateful for, it can help distract you from the pain. Pinterest has a lot of great gratitude journaling ideas. The 2nd interpretation is that you can focus on being grateful for any pain that you experience during labor because of the knowledge that what you are experiencing is a productive pain that brings your baby closer to you.
H. Hip Hop Dancing
YouTube has a lot of great videos of women dancing during labor. The quick search of “dancing during labor” found 11+ videos of labor, some to encourage labor to start, and more.
Let your body move intuitively. Move those hips, squat, dance, get on your hands and knees. Do what feels best for you and your labor.
J. Joy, Being Joyful
This one goes hand in hand with what I said under gratitude.
Eat something. New studies are showing what midwives knew all along. That eating during labor is an important way to keep up your strength and energy during labor.
In her book Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May Gaskin, who is considered the mother of the modern midwifery movement, wrote about the benefits of laughing during labor.
Some women set up a playlist of their favorite music to relax to. I’ve heard everything from Gregorian chants to The Cure, with praise and worship music, classical, and Enya in between.
Getting rest when you can is so important. Sleep during early labor when contractions are light and far apart. Even naps during the 5 minutes between contractions when labor picks up can be beneficial.
Sex can be quite helpful to help with pain relief, enhance, or even bring on contractions. If your water is broke, orgasm can still be achieved through clitoral or nipple stimulation since penetration can cause infection.
Keeping your bladder empty can help with pain relief. A full bladder can also impede baby’s descent.
A noisy room can inhibit the concentration that many feel necessary during labor. I learned about this when I took Bradley Natural Childbirth classes. When I was in labor with my 2nd son, if anyone tried to talk while I was having a contraction, I would put up my hand to stop them. I would breathe through my contraction and then when it was over, I would look at them and acknowledge that I was ready to talk/listen to them at that point.
R. Rest and Relax
This goes hand in hand with the nap idea. Most natural childbirth methods also teach relaxation techniques to help with pain relief as well.
Do you love to sing? Singing songs from your faith can help. I’ve seen singers belt out songs from performances that they have done. I’ve seen some also sing their favorite Disney songs to help distract themselves.
T. Trust Yourself
Hopefully you have learned all you can and have prepared yourself for a great birth experience. Your choice to birth naturally was based on what you have learned. Trust that your have made the right choice. Birth Without Fear is a great resource to help with that process.
U. Understand Your Options
The preparations that you have made and knowing what is available to you is an important step in the process.
Don’t be afraid to make noise. With my oldest son, I said/moaned, “Ow” a lot during labor. Keep in mind that high pitched/screaming sounds can hinder your labor. Focus on lower pitched, “mooing like a cow” sounds.
This can be birthing in a pool or tub, taking a shower, or even using warm compresses in the small of your back/cool compresses on your face.
X. Engage (x) Your Chi
or your inner power, your X factor. Whatever those terms mean to you. This can include things like meditation or prayer.
Or howl, make some noise. Don’t be afraid to make whatever noise helps you cope. Ina May also recommends using horse lips to cope during labor.
What are you planning to use to cope with labor? What was your favorite pain relief method during labor? Did I forget something that helped you?