5 natural pain relief techniques to use during labour

February 20, 2023

5 natural pain relief techniques to use during labour


If you’re anything like many of my clients, you’ll be approaching labour something like this…

You would love for your labour to be as natural as possible. You want to be present and aware of what’s going on (after all, it’s a pretty bloody special event, the birth of your child!) and you’re also aware of the impact of drugs on both your labour and your baby. You're not against stronger pain relief - but if you can avoid it, you would love to. 

Does this mean that we don’t talk about pharmaceutical pain relief? Obviously not! Because none of us can ever say that we definitely won’t choose or need something stronger - and its great that we have those options available.

But some pain relief is medical-grade heroin, which your baby will also be exposed to, and an epidural does increase the chances of you having an instrumental birth (forceps or vacuum) so it makes sense to start with the basics. Plus.. a lot of my clients surprise themselves by how much comfort they get from some really simple, natural pain relief techniques.

So here are 5 things to get you thinking about what you might find helpful during your labour… 

  1. Movement 

Labour and birth are a dynamic process! You’re working together with your baby, as a wonderful little team, and when you’re listening to your body you can move in a way that supports that process. Your pelvis has joints and movement means that it can expand, making everything easier for you and your baby! Labour is far more comfortable when you can walk, rock, sway, dance…whatever feels best for you!

  1. Water

You know that feeling when you get into a warm bath, the day after a workout?! Ahhhh… and your sore muscles relax. It’s just the same during labour. Your muscles are working really hard and so warmth and relaxation is just gorgeous. This might be a birth pool, it might be a bath or shower, or it might be a hot water bottle! All are really effective as easing those labour sensations, and usually without any risk factors.  

  1. Breathing

Sounds simple, right?! But getting oxygen to your baby and the muscles of your uterus during labour is an absolute game changer! It will help you to feel more in control and it will keep everything working more comfortably. The more stressed you are, the greater the risk of your baby becoming distressed during labour, so ensuring that you’re breathing well and staying calm is hugely beneficial for you both.

  1. Touch

So you know about the feel-good endorphins you get from chocolate, laughter and exercise? Well you get those by the bucket-load during labour too! And they’re 200 times stronger than morphine! Yes, seriously. Massage and soft-touch massage can be really effective at getting the endorphins flowing – so work out what you like and get your birth partner practicing during your pregnancy! I teach some really effective massage techniques on my hypnobirthing course and its always the most enjoyable part of the course for the mums!

  1. The power of hormones

This isn’t actually something to do…. Its simply looking at the environment around you. Is your body being supported to produce helpful birthing hormones? If you’re surrounded by strangers who are all watching you, the lights are bright, you’re on edge and its all feeling pretty stressful, that’s not going to get your body producing the right hormones for birth. Which means things are slower and more painful. Think about sex… when is it best? When you’re relaxed, the lights are down, you have privacy and you can lose yourself in the moment. That’s when labour and birth feels most comfortable too!

Harness these 5 things and you’ll have a good start towards a labour that feels more manageable. Plus…even if you’re planning on having ALL the pain relief during labour – you’re still going to have your early hours of labour, whether at home or in the hospital, where you won’t have access to anything stronger. So these natural comfort measures are never going to go to waste!

If you’d like to learn more about how your labour can feel calmer and less painful, watch this video all about what hypnobirthing is and how it works, or book onto my 5 star rated hypnobirthing course in Sevenoaks or Tunbridge Wells. 

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