Pain relief is perhaps one of the best gifts to vaginal childbirth. However, some women do not go for it, either due to the high costs in hospitals or by choice. Non- medical pain relief techniques have, over the years, proven to have lesser side effects when compared to medical pain relief techniques. Let’s review them a little further.
What Are Non- Medical Pain Relief Techniques?
These are any pain relief methods used during labour that do not require the use of a drug. The methods are highly effective in relieving pain while reducing risks to you and your unborn child. However, in cases that childbirth is through caesarean section medical pain relief methods must be used.
Here are some natural non-medical techniques you could consider:
- Learning what to expect during labour– when you have a rough idea on what to expect, you’ll feel more in control of the situation. Your anxiety levels will be low and you’ll be more relaxed.
- Exercise- being of good physical condition is linked to shorter and easier labour. Try gentle exercises like walking, swimming
- Breathing techniques – try taking short slow breaths. This will help lower your anxiety levels and release tension.
- Changing positions– find a position that is comfortable you. Being relaxed will ensure that you won’t tease up and increase the pain.
- Massage – Ask your midwife or partner to massage you lower back. This helps stimulate the production of endorphins which act as natural painkillers and mood enhancers.
- Doulas – These assist with home births. They offer continuous care as opposed to hospital staff, they’re well trained in child birth and supportive skills.
- Sterile water injections– fairly new technique that offers you immediate back pain relief. Small amount of sterile water is injected into your lower back skin in four places. The water stimulates the nerves sending quicker messages to the brain.
- Water– both immersions and taking showers can bring not only pain relief but also relaxation and comfort.
- Environment– if possible create a relaxing environment for yourself. You could listen to your favourite playlist, dim the lights, light up aromatherapy candle or place familiar items around you. This helps you to relax and increases your tolerance to pain.
- Heat packs– placing a heat pack on your lower back is recommended to relief sore backs.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)- this is the use of a hand held device you stimulate the nerves in the lower back to get relief. You can do this on your own or ask for assistance.
- Acupuncture- though not a common practise, acupuncture has been known to offer pain relief. When opting for this technique ensure you look for an experienced acupuncturist.
Read more about medical pain relief here.
Please note that development differs from one child to another.
Content intended for educational purposes only, and not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.
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Last reviewed March 2019
Sources: betterhealth, pregnancybirthbaby, acog, nhs, bellybelly