The Successful Options For Helping With Labor Pains
Pregnancy can seem like it lasts a long time, but before you know it your due date is only weeks away and you still have a huge list of things to do to prepare for your baby's arrival. Things like getting the nursery ready or choosing a name will be important, but finding the best methods for helping with labor pains is something that you also can't afford to ignore.
The sooner you learn how to reduce your labor pains, the better. Getting an early start lets you practice the different methods, choose all of the ones that are right for you, make sure your partner knows which methods you want to use, and go into your due date feeling confident and relaxed, not nervous and scared.
That last aspect is important – more important than most realize. Studies have found that the more relaxed a woman is about her labor, the faster it will go and the less severe it will usually be. With that in mind, finding the truth about the best labor pain relief options is a must.
Most women start their search for relief with the epidural. Epidurals are a medical procedure where a thin catheter is inserted into the epidural space of the spine. Medicine is fed through that catheter which blocks the nerve transmissions to and from the brain. An epidural can have some very real effects at helping with labor pains, and more than 60% of women today use an epidural to manage labor pain. However, there has been a big increase in the number of women who are avoiding epidurals due to the risks involved.
Epidurals can cause a prolonged labor, stop or weaken contractions, cause an increased risk of needing a C-section, set up infection, lower blood pressure levels, and trigger severe headache or backache if done incorrectly. As a result, the risks aren't entirely worth the rewards for many women. Add the fact that they won't totally erase the pain but only dull it, and they may not be right for you. Consider the pros and cons, think about the risks, and then decide for yourself.
Of course, there are plenty of other steps that are highly effective at helping with labor pains that don't carry those risks. It can be a bit frightening to decide to say no to epidurals and embrace natural methods of pain relief, but most mother report that they don't regret the decision in the least. Some of the best methods of reducing labor pain naturally include the following.
• Lamaze – Lamaze is one of the most recognized and popular methods of reducing labor pain, but it's also one of the most misunderstood. Lamaze actually uses those odd breathing exercises and other steps not to reduce pain but to distract the mind away from the pain. This can help take your mind off it and make your labor easier to get through.
• Acupressure – Studies have found that using acupressure can reduce the intensity and duration of labor contractions. You'll need someone who actually knows how to provide the acupressure, however, because doing it incorrectly could actually end up prolonging your labor.
• Water Birth – Getting in the tub can work wonders at helping with labor pains. It can reduce the amount of pressure you feel on your body thanks to the buoyancy it provides, and the warmth of the water can help reduce the tension in your muscles and help with contractions. Most hospitals now offer water birth options.
• Muscle Relaxation – Using tools like dental bits or techniques like meditation to relax the muscles in the pelvic region can help, too. There are some excellent options out there and each one is worth considering. The more relaxed your muscles are, the less pain you'll experience during labor.
• Hypnosis – Thanks to reports that Kate Middleton got advice and tips from a hypnosis expert, this method of controlling pain is already climbing in popularity. During a hypno-birth, the mother uses the basic principles of hypnosis to lull her mind into a more relaxed, tranquil place. With a bit of practice it can be highly effective at limiting pain and easing the labor overall.
• Changing Positions – Lying flat on your back isn't really the best way to go through your labor. Standing, walking, squatting, kneeling, and even getting on all fours could help reduce labor pain. It can reduce pressure on your body and let gravity help you with the delivery. Don't feel like you're chained to the bed. Get up and try some different positions and you'll likely be glad you did.
Getting the right help for your labor pains is important, and the sooner you start investigating all of your options, the better. Look into the ones that sound like they're right for you, build the kind of birth plan you need, and you'll be able to welcome your baby into the world without too much pain.
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Photo credit: US Army Africa / Foter / CC BY