Non-Drug Pain Relief in Labour

Non-Drug Pain Relief in Labour

  • Labour

Each and every woman is different when it comes to pregnancy and giving birth. When it comes to thinking about pain relief options some women have very firm views on what they want i.e. an epidural, pethidine etc. Whereas other women prefer not to have a labour that involves involves drugs.Pain relief options in labour may involve drugs or non drug options

If you are considering non-drug pain relief in labour here are a few options to consider:

TENS machines

A TENS machine involves having pads put on the lower side on each side of the spine that give out electric pulses and sends signals to the brain to convince it that the pain is less than it actually is.  The pads connect to a battery unit and you can then control how powerful the electric pulses are.

Tip: If considering a TENS machine you can hire them out before labour. Check to see if they have classes you can attend to see how the machine works or get someone to show you when you pick it up.

Hot or Cold options  

Some patients find that a warm shower or bath helps when in active labour – or even a heat pack or a cold pack.

Water for labour


Often this is where partners can help in a big way during labour – by giving their pregnant partner a massage. In giving a massage it can help to soothe and relax you to keep you going as well as to stimulate endorphins which will help with your overall mood.

Tip: Be sure to tell your partner when and when not to massage you as you may find that you really don’t want to be touched at certain points in your labour. Also be mindful of using essential oils – check which ones are safe for pregnancy.

Massage during pregnancy and labour

Breathing techniques

Prior to labour it’s a great idea to practice breathing techniques and in labour it can help you to both focus and also stay relaxed. There are often classes available that help with this and some baby yoga classes will focus on breathing too.

Of course with all of these things always be mindful that labour doesn’t always go to plan, and as much as you want to have a non-drug labour, it is sometimes more important to consider mum and baby remaining healthy. Your Obstetrician will guide and advise you on all your options as you progress through your labour.

Relaxation techniques during pregnancy and labour

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Greenslopes Obstetrics and Gynaecology