For many women, the prospect of their baby’s upcoming birth brings not only excitement at the thought of meeting the newborn, but also the need to consider childbirth pain relief. Any woman who has had a baby knows that there is a point where it feels like you are being turned inside out! Luckily, there are options for making the childbirth experience more comfortable these days.
It is common knowledge that there are medications that are very effective in providing childbirth pain relief, but there are also natural options for those who don’t want to risk the side effects of the drugs. Both medicated and natural approaches have their place and neither is inherently wrong.
An example of your choices on the medicated side would be either drugs that affect the whole body, such as narcotics, or drugs that simply block pain from certain nerves, like an epidural. The narcotics may not stop the pain like an epidural does, but it certainly stops you caring about it! The epidural is a much more commonly used procedure as it is deemed the safest way to relieve the pain of giving birth without putting the baby at risk.
The alternatives come under the umbrella of natural childbirth. I’ve always found that term to be a bit of an oxymoron. Just because you get a little relief from medication does not make it an unnatural childbirth, does it? No matter how it’s done, having a baby will always be a natural thing.
Many women find that massage is effective in relieving pain, and this can be performed either by your partner or by a trained doula. A doula may be better qualified, and if you are one of the many women who end up shouting obscenities at your partner when in labor…well, it may be a rather more pleasant experience!
Clearly this won’t help every woman, but there are other options. Birthing in water is considered particularly relaxing, and some women like the distraction of being in a jacuzzi. Walking, standing, rocking and squatting are more natural than lying on your back and can help not only ease the pain but also speed the labor along.
Alternatively, you may wish to consider hypnosis, acupuncture, breathing techniques that are aimed at helping you to focus on something other than the pain, or other distractions. There are many classes teaching natural pain relief, such as the Lamaze concept, and these can help you to prepare for what is to come.
Remarkably, having coped with childbirth without pain medication for hundreds of thousands of years, some women are convinced that there is no choice but to take the offered drugs. There are many options when it comes to childbirth pain relief, so simply remembering that makes it much easier to find something that suits you.