As an experienced Hypnobirthing practitioner and mother who enjoyed two pain- free empowering births, I am often asked how women can manage pain during labour naturally. It is my dream that all without fear so here are my top 5 tips!
CREATE AN OPTIMAL BIRTHING ENVIRONMENT
Your birth environment should allow you to feel safe, comfortable and relaxed so that you can labour uninhibited.
PRACTICE BREATHING AND RELAXATION TECHNIQUES
Relaxation and breathing techniques can help centre birthing women and focus their mental state during labour. Tension increases pain; relaxation reduces it.
Listen to relaxation CD’s specific to childbirth e.g. Hypnobirthing or Gentlebirth, throughout your pregnancy and at the time of your labour. They will condition you to be able to “ let go”.
Nasal breathing is particularly important as it accesses and facilitates the connection to the parasympathetic nervous system, this is the happy/ calm part of our autonomic nervous system. It encourages the release and maintenance of our beta-endorphins
These have been proven to be up to 40 times more powerful than morphine!
USE VISUALISATION TECHNIQUES
Mental imagery is a highly effective labour pain management technique; professional athletes even use it to naturally enhance their performance. Labouring women may visualize their cervix opening or their baby descending the birth path with ease.
USE WATER AND MOVE FREELY
The use of water is well documented as a labour pain management technique. Water provides support and buoyancy that enables labouring women to relax and take advantage of the weightless feeling it provides.
When you are upright in labour, gravity assists to move the baby down and out. Being on your back slows labour, increases the likelihood of tearing, and reduces oxygen flow to the baby. Changing and moving into positions that your body wants to during labour whether you are in or out of the water is key to working with your birthing body and eliminating discomfort.
POSITIVE EDUCATION AND SUPPORT
Fear is the biggest enemy to the birth room. Fear creates tension and tension creates pain. Eliminating these fears and replacing them with a positive expectation for birth is greatly supported by taking childbirth education course such as Hypnobirthing Australia, Active birth or Gentle birth.
Alongside relaxation, emotional support may be the most imperative, and most overlooked, natural labour pain management technique. Studies have shown that women supported by knowledgeable birthing companions, other women and especially doulas, experience more positive, less complicated births and report more satisfaction with their birth experiences.
Katie Kempster is a local hypnobirthing practitioner and childbirth educator from harmonic hypnobirthing. www.harmonichypnobirthing.com.au