How can I stay comfortable during labour?

Although it sounds like an oxymoron, there are things you can do to help your labour progress and feel comfortable during and between contractions. It is very important to relax in between contractions so your pain tolerance does not keep increasing. If something doesn’t feel good, try something else. Here are some common comfort measures that you might want to try.
Your environment during labour is important you can dim lights, keep out unnecessary people, try and keep it peaceful. Stay warm by turning up the heat, wearing comfy socks and a cozy housecoat. Make a playlist of relaxing music and some upbeat tempos for when you need to get in the groove.
It is important to keep physically active when in labour. The easiest and best way to keep your labour progressing is to walk. Some other ways to be physical are pelvic rocking, squatting, slow dancing with your partner, hands and knees, abdominal lift and lunges.
Some women love to be touched during labours and others may not. During labour the type of touch wanted may change. Some things your partner may do are massage, stroking, cuddling, counter pressure against lower back and applying hot/cold packs. Some women find it helpful to be in a hot shower or deep bath. When labour becomes intense a nice cool cloth to wipe your face is appreciated.
Your mental attitude is vital to your labour experience. You can try visualization, affirmations, breath awareness, non-focused awareness and meditation or prayer. Making positive sounds during contractions will help you and your partner stay calm.
You may want to include aromatherapy during labour. Try and find out which smells feel good to you. A good essential oil can help you relax and stay calm.
Some women are unsure if they should make any noise as they don’t want to be embarrassed. Most athletes make some kind of noise when they are working hard, and you will be working hard. Moaning, groaning and grunting can help make labour easier. Remember to keep your sounds low and guttural. Send the sounds down to the baby not up to the ceiling.
Finally, keep in mind that a continuous presence of an experienced doula can reduce the use of pain medication in general and epidurals in particular. Doulas can bring understanding and knowledge to this very important event in you and your partner’s life.
It is important to practice all these techniques before labour so you know what will work for you. These techniques are all useful and helpful in all aspects of your life before and after baby is born.
Wishing you a blessed birth-day.

Submitted by Winona Morland, CSS,CCCBE
BirthRite Lloydminster

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