Pain management is just as important as what you’ll name your baby, whether you’ll breastfeed and how much time you’ll take on maternity leave. If you prefer natural childbirth,you have non-medicinal options for managing pain. Here are a few:
Natural Childbirth with Hypnosis
Hypnobirthing uses self-hypnosis to help you relax and stay calm during the labor process. This isn’t the kind of self-hypnosis associated with stage shows; you won’t be clucking like a chicken or making a fool out of yourself. Self-hypnosis puts you in a very deep relaxed state so you don’t become tense or fearful.
Hypnobirthing is used by women who plan a med-free birth, though teachers of hypnobirthing stress that medication and other interventions can and should be used when necessary. They suggestion that women learn as much about the birthing process and advocate for themselves and their care. If you can’t find an in-person class, look for a home-study course offered by Hypnobabies.
Natural Childbirth with The Bradley Method
The Bradley method focuses on natural childbirth and is very partner focused. Proponents stress the importance of a low-risk lifestyle through nutrition and exercise, and the use of relaxation as important tools through labor. Most important is the role of the partner in supporting the laboring woman, and coaching her to trust her body as it goes through labor and delivery.
Natural Childbirth with Lamaze
The Lamaze technique is one of the most commonly used childbirth methods and focuses on the use of controlled breathing to manage pain. As the technique has evolved, Lamaze classes include ways that the birth partner can be involved and how a laboring woman can advocate for herself and the birth she wants. It includes mention of epidurals and other methods of pain management should the laboring woman request it, though the focus is on natural methods of pain relief.
Natural Childbirth: Other Techniques
In addition to the three mentioned formal class strategies, a laboring woman can use other techniques to minimize childbirth pain. Anything that facilitates relaxation can help with pain—massage from the birth partner, sitting in a warm bath or shower, listening to favorite music, yoga and meditation. Staying active, especially walking, can be particularly helpful, not only for pain relief but to move labor along.