There are many options when it comes to labour and pain relief. Some are very natural and others require injections and drugs e.g. an epidural and morphine/pethidine. There is no one set or correct way to deal with pain relief in labour, as everyone is different. Some women tend to have a very high pain threshold, whereas others do not.
Your Obstetrician will be able to provide you with a full list of options available. Please find below some natural options for labour that women may choose:
Use of Shower and Bath
Some hospitals offer the use of a baths or shower for women to use during the first stage of labour. The warm water can be very soothing and help reduce the pain of labour. It can be a good way of relieving the back pain often associated with labour.
TENS machines are a popular pain relief method during labour and consist of attaching electrodes to the lower back. These electrodes send electric pulses to the brain and compete with pain impulses from the uterus, and assist with reducing the pain experienced from contractions. They are good because it means you can move around and you are in control of when you use it. You can hire the machines and it is always a good idea to get someone to show you how to use it, and ideally see a professional for advice.
It is becoming more popular to use relaxation methods such as hypnobirthing, which involves learning how to relax and how to reduce the fear and anxiety that may be experienced during labour. There are a number of programs such as Calmbirth that enable you to learn how to take control of your birthing experience, and some women find it works really well.
Massage and heat packs
Asking your partner to your massage you can help during contractions. In addition applying heat packs when needed can help your body to release endorphins, which will assist with the pain from contractions.
It is important to remember that whilst these are some natural options for consideration for labour no birth is the same, and it may be that whilst you have the idea of how you want your birth plan to go. Be prepared for it to not be 100% as you expected, and the most important outcome is a healthy baby and mother at the end of the labour.