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Childbirth Quiz: How Can You Help the Pain?

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pregnant woman focusing thoughts

Being calmer can help make labor hurt less.

pregnant woman focusing thoughts

Being calmer can help make labor hurt less.

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It's normal to be stressed when you're about to have a baby, but your labor might go better if you have ways to manage those feelings. Practice relaxing and focusing on good thoughts a few weeks before the big day. Learning all you can about birth can help you feel in control. Read a book, take a class, and ask your doctor or midwife questions.

pregnant woman focusing thoughts

Lying on your back is the least painful way to give birth.

pregnant woman focusing thoughts

Lying on your back is the least painful way to give birth.

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Lying on your back may make labor hurt more. Unless doctors need to keep checking on your baby or you've had an epidural, you should be free to move around.

Try being on your hands and knees (as if you were going to crawl) on the bed. Walk, lean, sway, rock, and squat. Some hospitals have birth balls or squat bars available, and some women find these helpful. Just keep moving as long as the medical team says it's OK.

Birth position is also something you should discuss with the doctor ahead of time.

pregnant woman focusing thoughts

You can ease labor pain naturally with:

pregnant woman focusing thoughts

You can ease labor pain naturally with:

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A lot of things can help ease the pain if you want to have your baby without taking drugs. Walk or change positions often, ask someone to roll a tennis ball around your lower back, or take a warm bath or shower. Massage, acupuncture, and rhythmic breathing also can help, and a midwife or doula can support you.

pregnant woman focusing thoughts

Which anesthetic is used most often for labor pain?

pregnant woman focusing thoughts

Which anesthetic is used most often for labor pain?

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Epidurals, which give you medicine throughout your labor, are used more often than spinal blocks, one-time shots of medicine that wear off.

Spinal blocks, sometimes used in C-sections, cause a quicker and more complete loss of feeling.

General anesthesia, which puts you to sleep, isn't recommended for normal deliveries because of the health risks for the mother and baby. The biggest risk is that food in the mom's stomach could come back into her mouth while she's unconscious and get into her lungs.

For an epidural, medicine is injected into your lower back, and that will make you lose some feeling in your belly and the lower part of your body. An epidural can relax the muscles around your pelvis and sometimes slows labor. Tell your doctor if you can still feel pain or if it hurts more on one side.

You can ask for an epidural even if you had planned to give birth without drugs. It's too late for one when doctors can see your baby's head.

pregnant woman focusing thoughts

How does exercise before or during pregnancy help with labor?

pregnant woman focusing thoughts

How does exercise before or during pregnancy help with labor?

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Regular exercise before or during pregnancy will make your muscles stronger and prepare your body for the effort of labor. You will not tire as quickly if you exercise often; this will help you if you have a long labor.

Try swimming, brisk walking, indoor stationary cycling, or low-impact aerobics during your pregnancy. Be careful not to overdo it, and talk to your doctor first about a safe exercise plan.

pregnant woman focusing thoughts

During a C-section, you might feel:

pregnant woman focusing thoughts

During a C-section, you might feel:

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You shouldn't feel any pain during a C-section, but you could feel pulling and pressure as the doctor takes your baby out. If you need an emergency C-section, you might get general anesthesia that will put you to sleep. A C-section is major surgery, and you most likely will stay in the hospital for three or four days. Walking a lot could help if you hurt afterward.

pregnant woman focusing thoughts

Most women forget labor pain.

pregnant woman focusing thoughts

Most women forget labor pain.

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It's not just an old wives' tale. Most women forget the intensity of labor pain. Swedish scientists studied women's memories of pain 2 months, a year, and 5 years after they gave birth. Women who felt good about their labor forgot more pain than those who didn't.

Your Score:    You correctly answered   out of   questions.
Your Score:    You correctly answered   out of   questions.

Great job! You know quite a bit about labor pain. What a relief!

Not bad! You pushed through and managed the pain.

You had a painfully hard time. Study up and take the quiz again.