With or without an epidural, labour and giving birth are painful events, accompanied by increasingly stronger and more frequent contractions. Based on the testimonies of real women who have already gone through the process, here are 10 natural tips to help ease the pain while giving birth and for getting through the happy event more calmly.
1) Move, move, move!
Although intense physical effort such as running or other sports can induce shock, moving your body will ease the pain of the contractions and could speed up the birth.
Here are a few ideas for gentle exercises you can do during pregnancy:
- prenatal yoga (up to 6 months, in general)
- dance: according to mothers who tried dance before giving birth and throughout their pregnancies, the baby descended fairly quickly and they succeeded in managing the pain
- Swiss ball: exercises using a Swiss ball are well known for relieving contractions and tension in the back and the tummy.
2) Visualise the contractions
Visualise your contractions by imagining the uterus contracting, pushing the baby in the right direction.
By concentrating on such visualisations with every contraction, rather than thinking about the contractions that are coming later, some women succeed in managing the pain better.
You can stay standing, with your legs slightly apart, and move your pelvis in circles. From time to time, bend your knees, while breathing out and leaning on something.
3) Keep warm!
If you feel the contractions coming and getting stronger, take a hot bath, a hot shower or put a hot water bottle or a heated bean bag on your belly and/or your kidneys.
Other women have also experimented with paraffin baths, which relaxed them when they were tired from labour pains.
4) Keep concentrating
Take each contraction as it comes, without thinking about the next ones and what lies ahead of you, because this will only stress you out and make the birth more difficult. Manage them one at a time!
Even if it may not seem that way at the time, try to remind yourself that the contractions are a sign that the long, tiring pregnancy is at an end, and that they signal the start of a new life with your baby.
5) Relax in water
Spending some time relaxing in the bath or shower, either on your own or with your partner, will help mums-to-be to feel more relaxed and less stressed. The water and the heat will help relax the muscles and thus ease the pains.