You have the option of not using any pain medicine during your
labor and delivery. This is sometimes called a "natural" delivery.
Nonmedication ways of controlling your pain include:
Continuous labor support. Having a support person with you from early
labor until after childbirth, has a proven, positive effect on
Distraction. During early
labor, you can walk, play cards, watch TV, take a shower, or read to help take
your mind off your contractions.
Massage of the shoulders and lower back during contractions may ease your pain.
Strong massage of the back muscles (counterpressure) during contractions may
help relieve the pain of
back labor. Tell your labor coach exactly where to
push and how hard to push.
is using your imagination to decrease your pain. For instance, to help manage
pain, visualize contractions as waves rolling over you. Picture a peaceful
place, such as a beach or mountain stream, to help you relax between
Changing positions during labor. Walking, kneeling or sitting on a big rubber ball (birth ball) are good options.
Focused breathing. Breathing
in a rhythm can distract you from pain. Childbirth education classes will teach
you different methods of focused breathing.
Laboring in water. This
helps with pain, stress, and sometimes slow, difficult labor
Other techniques without medicine
Other ways to control pain without using medicine include:
Acupuncture. Small studies suggest that
acupuncture is a low-risk, effective way of managing
labor pain for some women.3
Hypnosis. This is a low-risk way of managing labor pain and
anxiety that works for some women.3
Cluett ER, Burns E (2009). Immersion in water in labour and birth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2).
Cluett ER, et al. (2004). Randomised controlled trial
of labouring in water compared with standard of augmentation for management of
dystocia in first stage of labour. BMJ, 328(7435):
Smith CA, et al. (2006). Complementary and
alternative therapies for pain management in labour. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (4).
Primary Medical Reviewer
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
November 2, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
November 02, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this