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What are natural ways to deal with labour pain?

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Labour is such an individual experience, as is managing the pain that comes with it. And while many mums-to-be are keen to keep their birth as natural as possible, what does this mean when it comes to dealing with pain? We recently talked to midwife Tylah McConnell in a Facebook Live for TMB TV about a variety of drug-free options to help cope with the pain that comes hand-in-hand with labouring.

Watch our chat with Midwife Tylah – covering pregnancy, birth, and life with a newborn – below.

Mind games

According to Tylah, the best natural way to deal with labour pain is with your mind. “That’s where is all starts, using techniques such as hypnobirthing or using hypnobirthing tracks, which you now find on YouTube if you don’t want to make that big investment,” says Tylah. “And breath work, really working on your breath work which you can learn by going to some prenatal yoga classes or researching breath work.”

Let the music play

Outside distractions can be a great way to get your mind off labour pain. This is where Tylah finds things like music to be extremely helpful. “Music is transformative,” she says. “Often in a labour room when the spirits are coming down and the woman is getting tired, that’s the time to start the tunes, have a bit of a laugh and bring that energy back up.”

Water works

Water can do wonders for labour pain. Many women find labouring in the bath helps with relaxation and pain management. Similarly, being under a shower can ease back pain. In some instances, if the hospital is appropriately equipped, you might even be able to stay in the bath for the birth.

“A lot of women feel more calm and peaceful in the water,” says Tylah. “It’s the same as having really bad period cramps. Being in the water can almost cure them.”

Tylah has also heard many women say that when they in labour on land, they feel the contractions in their legs and everywhere else. “But in the bath they feel it just in their uterus and they’re able to get a bit more control,” she says.

Heat it up

Simple but effective, the heat pack is definitely your friend in the labour room. “Heat is exceptional,” says Tylah. “I really like those little ones you get from the chemist that last 10 hours because you can just tuck them in your undies and you don’t have to worry about it.”

Water injections

Another natural option which helps deal with lower back pain during labour, is the use of sterile water injections. These are given in four different places in the lower back, causing a stinging sensation that lasts for up to 30 seconds. This disappears along with back pain and can offer you about two hours of pain relief while still being able to feel contractions.

Physical options

There are many different techniques that women look to when managing labour pain. These can be as simple as holding a comb and pressing it into their hand during contractions.

Tylah also suggests practices such as Rebozo Sifting. This involves using a large scarf, called a rebozo, to gently jiggle the woman’s body, relaxing muscles and ligaments around the abdomen and pelvic area. Women find it offers enormous pain relief during labour, and has been said to help get baby in the best possible birth position or even help to turn breech babies around.

Another suggestions is acupressure. Used in traditional Chinese medicine, this involves placing pressure on specific points in the body to release qi (life energy).

Make a plan

There are, in fact, so many natural dug-free options to help deal with labour pain, and Tylah believes you should make a list and work out what appeals the most.

“There’s so much out there,” she says. “Write down all the options and then start to work up from the least effective to the most.”

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