Labour pain has a purpose

Pain is your body’s way of telling you something. Most of the time pain tells you that you’re hurt. However, labour pain is different. Labour pain tells you that it’s time to begin bringing your baby into the world, as well as the best way to do this.

You’ll notice that some positions and movements in labour lessen your pain. These positions and movements are the ones that will best help your baby to tuck, turn and move through the pelvis. Labour pain also reminds you to stay calm and focused when there has been a big change in your labour environment.

To help your body do its job, change positions often. You may feel a temporary increase in pain when you do this. Try to stay calm and focused. Stay hydrated and empty your bladder about every 2 hours or so. Ask your birth centre team for their suggestions.

Know that you’re already equipped to manage the pain

Your body already has all of the energy, strength and pain-reducing ability it needs to get you through a normal labour and birth. Learning to use these natural abilities will help you.

Using your own pain-reducing ability

Start with your brain. Before labour, learn what to expect by taking prenatal classes and reading. Boost your confidence by practicing coping skills. Once you’re in labour, stimulate your senses: music, warmth, touch, focal points and pleasant scents can all reduce the number of pain signals you feel. Take advantage of the increased release of endorphins with massage, especially of your feet and hands. Get into the shower. If your water hasn’t broken and your birth centre has a bath, this can help release tension and relax muscles. This will stimulate a number of senses at once and will reduce muscle tension. Many women find the shower helps them stay calm, focused and feel less pain.

However, some women want or need medicine to help them manage the pain. It’s important that you make the choice that’s right for you at the time. More information about pain relief and other pain relief options.

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