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There’s simply no way around it — having a baby hurts. While everyone’s birth story will be different, we can’t promise you it will be completely free of discomfort. Today, however, there are multiple options available to help you manage this pain and get through your delivery as comfortably as possible.

Causes of Pain During Childbirth
It’s important not to let fear about the pain of giving birth put unnecessary stress on you during your pregnancy. After all, this extra stress can impact the health of you and your baby. It’s best to be prepared for what’s to come by knowing what causes pain during labor and delivery:

  • Stretching and expanding of the vagina and the birth canal
  • Contractions of the uterus
  • Pressure on the cervix, bladder and bowels
  • Possible perineal or vaginal tearing during delivery

Ways to Cope With Labor and Delivery Pains
All of the pains mentioned above are normal and women can experience them in very different ways. Your individual body as well as your mental and physical pain tolerance will impact how you feel them. The intensity and/or type of sensation may vary when it comes to contractions, pressure and expansion of the body you prepare to deliver and not all women will experience perineal tears. Please feel free to download our complimentary e-book the 7 Secrets to Easier Childbirth and, amongst other things, learn how to reduce the probability of perineal tearing.

Here are some ways to manage the pain you experience during labor and delivery:

  1. Stay Calm — Meditation or another form of relaxation exercise can help you keep your mind off the pain. A doula can help you learn these techniques and be in the room with you if you like. See our previous blog post.
  2. Focus on Your Breath — Breathing exercises like those in the Lamaze method can assist you in working through the pain.
  3. Take a Soak — Many women opt for a water birth because the warm water can be soothing. Sitting in a tub of water may be just the ticket for your pain. You can also take a shower if you’re OK to stand.
  4. Get Moving — As long as you and your baby are doing all right, feel free to change positions as needed and get up and move around.
  5. Stimulate Your Mind — Listening to music, drawing or reading can all occupy your mind and take it off the pain. You can even pack board games because, let’s face it, you’ll probably be waiting a while.
  6. Have a Massage — Have your partner gently massage different areas of the body to calm and relax you.
  7. Elect for an Epidural — Your doctor can administer an epidural, which is a form of local anesthesia that is inserted into the lower back to effectually numb the body from the belly button down. You need to know the risks if you elect for this form of pain relief. See the 7 Secrets to Easier Childbirth.
  8. Consider Other Analgesics — Painkillers administered through an IV can also be an option to help manage pain during labor and delivery.

Deciding What’s Right for You
It’s important to cover all options for managing pain with your partner, your doctor and anyone else involved in your birth plan. If you’re considering an epidural or other forms of medication, make sure you understand any risks involved for you and/or the baby as well as the timing required to use them safely — a lot has changed. You can practice the other techniques mentioned above in advance so you’re prepared for when the big day comes. Lastly, take what measures are needed to ensure you have the birthing experience you want. If that means putting everything in writing, do it, so you and your partner are happy and comfortable at every stage.

Keep these options in mind as you create your birthing plan. As any mother will tell you, the pain is all worth it in the end for the little bundle of joy you now have in your life.

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