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 machine 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. Hypnobirthing 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 […]
The exciting day of your baby’s arrival has finally arrived! There are a number of stages that count as labour and it doesn’t always mean you have to race to the hospital immediately. Read below in my post. Pre-labour – Braxton Hicks contractions Braxton Hicks contractions do not mean that your baby is coming – they are “practice” contractions and occur when the baby’s head moves into the pelvic area. First Stage – Early Labour In the first stage of early labour it is often possible to stay at home. The uterus is starting to contract at this stage, and the cervix thins as well and starts to dilate. You may find that contractions feel mild and gradually build up, and get more intense as labour progresses. First Stage – Active Labour In the second phase of early labour this is often called ‘active labour’. The cervix dilates from 4cm to 8cm, and contractions become even more intense. If you are not in hospital already by this stage, this is usually the time to make your way to the hospital. Labour is advanced at this stage, and the cervix dilates from the 7/8cm in active labour to 10cm, which is when the cervix is fully dilated. Second Stage of Labour The second stage of labour starts when the cervix is fully dilated. If all is well, then it may be useful to allow the baby’s head to move down the birth canal with the contractions alone, without active pushing. Active pushing can then begin, and the baby will move further down the birth canal, and then the baby’s head crowns, and your new baby is born. Third Stage of Labour The final stage of about is the delivery of the placenta. After the arrival of your baby, the placenta will separate from the uterus, and you may be given oxytocin to help encourage the placental separation.
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. 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. Massage 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. 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 […]