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Labor Made Easy

Natural? Epidural? Know Your Choices!

They don’t call it labour for nothing. A huge part of the process is all about getting through the unbearable pain that comes with the whole miracle of pregnancy. But calm down, just like everything else – this too is possible! There are uncountable amount of ways to manage the pain, and you can choose to use all of them if you like.

The trick is to have as many tools as possible in your bag because you never know what will work for you until you are actually going through it. What helps you now might not help you five minutes later, which is why it is extremely important to keep an open mind when doing your research. So take a deep breath and prepare yourself for the world of pain management!

In this article, you will find eight simple ways to cope with labour pains. So, let’s get started.

1) Relax

As encouraged by many midwives, the best thing to do while in labour is relax. It is a simple theory – when you fear pain, you tense up and the pain gets worse, which makes you tense up even more.

For those of you who are preparing yourself for the worst – i.e. a long labour, here is a word of advice for you; try to relax and keep calm enjoying your time during contractions instead of worrying about the next one and the pain that is going to come with it.

2) Breathe

To stay relaxed, it is important that you pay attention to your breathing like how you would do if you were at the gym lifting weights. Whether you are panting or letting out huge exhales, as long as you are focusing on your breath and releasing it – you will find some sort of relief.

It is normal for a woman in labour to scream like she is being chased by a ghost in a horror movie, but the key is to let out slow moans. This is mainly because when you scream your lungs out, your throat gets tight which causes you to tense up. We understand that it is almost impossible, but do try your best.

3) Move Around

Make it a point to walk around and change positions as this could help ease your contraction pains as well as speed up your delivery progress by using the force of gravity.

Being hooked up to fetal monitors and IVs makes it almost impossible to move around, but try to drag your IV along when you need to urinate instead of having a sanitary bag by your bed.

Even little movement will help easy any discomfort.

4) Water Therapy

Warm water is like a miracle made specially to ease pain. The soothing sensation that comes along with warm water is a great way to keep pain levels low. If you don’t have a bathtub or birthing tub at home, just stand under your shower as running warm water could work wonders too.

There are no proven results, but some midwives and doctors advice their patients not to get in contact with warm water in the early stages of labour (4 centimeters or below) as it might slow down the process.

5) Massage

Massage is an understatement when it comes to the kind of pressure most women need during labour. While massage doesn’t exactly reduce labour pains, having your partner rub your feet, shoulders or back can distract you from the pain and at the same time make you feel cared for which is a major morale boost.

6) Epidural

Some women may be totally against having any sort of drugs injected into them because they have planned to have a drug free labour all throughout their pregnancy, but ladies, if the pain is unbearable we suggest you give in to the epidural.

Studies have shown that epidurals reduce your risks of having a C-section and a prolonged labour as it provides a feeling of relaxation throughout labour. Some health issues may prevent you from getting an epidural so be sure to check with your doctor ahead of time.

7) Spinal and Combined Spinal Epidural

Yes, epidurals can be very effective but they take up to half an hour to kick in. The spinal, which goes into a slightly lower space in your back, works within seconds. However, the epidural is a single injection that lasts for up to 45 minutes.

On some occasions, doctors choose to use a spinal or spinal-epidural combo for women who are very long into labour and are desperate for fast relief.

8) Opioids

Women who choose not to have an epidural or can’t have one due to health issues can opt for opioids such as Demerol and Stadol, both delivered via IV. Unlike spinals and epidurals, opioids can make you drowsy and nauseated and will get into your baby’s bloodstream.

However, if doctors think your delivery is about to happen in less than an hour they avoid using opioids as they could cause grogginess in your baby.

The secrets are out, we would like to wish all you expectant mothers a happy and easy labour!

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