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Non-pharmacologic comfort methods

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I am wondering what techniques or methods you plan to use or have used in your medication-free labor & birth.

I was planning on winging it & doing whatever feels right, but I have been reading Birthing from within & realized that i should probably be practicing or at least putting more thought into how I will handle the discomfort and pain of labor. I have a birth tub & I envision using massage and focusing on my breathing. Any suggestions?
post #2 of 18
With DD2, the biggest help was 'vocal toning' which I learned in my yoga class. Basically it's just really low, deep vowel sounds. Our instructor had us practice going through the vowels (aaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy, eeeeeeeeeeeee, eeeeyyyyyyeeee, oooooooohhhhhhh, youuuuuuuuuuuuu --no 'y' ) but in labor I just used the "oh" sound. Worked great, helped focus the energy down, and kept me very relaxed. I had no pain whatsoever :. Also, for most of my labor I instinctively went to the hands-and-knees position, and that felt really good. For the last half hour or so I had back pressure, and having DH pushing his fist into my lower back for counterpressure during ctx was wonderful.
post #3 of 18
Last time I did breathing, then used a TENS machine on my back.
During transition I breathed Entonox for 5 minutes and that was very helpful too
post #4 of 18
warm tub and hypnobirthing.
i went from 1-8cm pain free, and when i did feel pain the tub helped a ton!
post #5 of 18
I have "used" in my previous labors and plan to again do: vocalization, position changes (this one has been huge for me!), movement in general, visualization (ex. opening like a flower) -- visualization is soooo not "me", but it really works in labor! I also sort of planned to "wing it" -- which was good because I was open to trying new things, but I had also thought about what would not be helpful to me (like massage, I don't want anyone touching me in labor!! but that's just me...)
post #6 of 18
I took a Bradley class with DD and most of the relaxation techniques seemed to be of the just-lie-there-and-relax sort, which didn't do much for me.

What got me through her birth was vocalizing (the low moaning/sounding) and simply figuring out how to focus only on the present moment, not looking ahead to the next contraction or the however many minutes/hours I might have left. My mw and nurse kept telling me, "Just take one contraction at a time" but it took me a while to figure out how to do that.

This time, I'm doing a little more practice with visualization, but mostly I'm more in the "wing it" mode, since so little of what I practiced last time was actually useful to me.
post #7 of 18
I think I'll be winging it as well. I'll definitely try do some focused breathing and some relaxation techniques but I accept that I won't really know what will feel good until I experience labor for real.
post #8 of 18
I planned to 'wing it' too, and it worked out ok for me! It was tough because my labor was so fast that I was alone for the first half of my labor (DH was at work) and then my MW didn't arrive until my baby's head was out- so she couldn't really help me with pain managment suggestions!

What I ended up doing was movement (standing and leaning on the dresser/bathroom sink and almost marching in place. All the possitions that I had heard would work felt awful. I just moved the way my body wanted to.) And vocalizing. But I use that word liberally. To be honest, towards the end, I was just yelling and screaming. But it worked! and I pushed my baby out all by myself.

Good luck! You can do it!
post #9 of 18
The thing that helps me the most is practicing being in the moment. During labor I really need to get into myself and not think about what the last contraction felt like or what might be coming next. Just breathe and move however I need to at that exact moment. Everything else gets shut out.
post #10 of 18
I did not do any birth classes or *formal* training either. I think that our bodies were designed for the purpose of birthing babies and that trusting G-d and nature is (hopefully!) the way to go.

My SIL gave me what I think is pretty good advice. She said that she only started progressing with the contractions when she allowed herself to just give in - give in to the sensations of pain, pressure and discomfort and work through it instead of tensing up and fighting it. Thankfully she will be here for my labor to remind me of this throughout!
post #11 of 18
Last time I winged it and it worked fine. I had a tub, and focussed really hard on relaxing through contractions. I also had dh do some back rubs and hip squeezes.

This time labor was so quick and intense I really didn't have much time to think anything other than "holy crap I hope this isn't just early labor because it really hurts and it's not stopping!" It took all my energy to relax through the ctx and my birth tub didn't get filled in time. But, it only lasted an hour. Any "prep" I may have done formally would have been for nothing!
post #12 of 18
Last time I planned to "wing it" which I think would have worked much better had I been at home. They were just trying to shove too much medical crap at me and I didn't have a doula either. But at home I could have just gone with what my body was telling me without cords everywhere.

This time I did hypnobabies- so I am planning on just relaxing and getting in my zone. Remembering that my body KNOWS how to do this and saying some sort of mantra maybe like "open open open" or just coming back to my breath like we do in my prenatal yoga class.

I figure- women have been giving birth without pharmacologic methods of comfort for a loooooong time... lots of them just going about their day and then just squatting someplace and giving birth. It doesn't HAVE to be this big painful thing. I think it only is (for the most part) if that is what we're expecting. So I am really looking forward to a totally comfortable and relatively pain free, BEAUTIFUL easy time
post #13 of 18


i used hypnobirthing, and i didnt even feel my contractions from 6-10cms. i had an awesome, almost pain-free birth. i am having a baby in feb 2010 and will be using this technique again, and this time i wont feel a a thing! :-) the classes also talk about vocalization as many have said on here...
post #14 of 18
I don't think there's anything wrong with "winging it". Acceptance is key and that can actually be hard. Breathing and getting into my "zone" always helped me.
I think water can be amazing. Thinking positively about it. Feeling proud/ good about yourself.
This time I also have some motherwort and skullcap tincture and rescue remedy. But I don't know if they will be needed or helpful. I mostly have the motherwort because this is my 3rd and it's supposed to help a lot with afterpains.
One thing my mw did last time was to put hot chamomile compresses (made of folded paper towels dipped in a crock pot of chamomile tea) on my perineum as I was pushing. It felt wonderful! Though if you are in the water it would probably have a similar effect.
post #15 of 18
I decided to wing it with this birth and it worked. I had to keep moving. I leaned with both hands on the back of a chair, the bed rail, and the shower bar while rocking my weight from one leg to the other. I also moved my hips around in a circle - like very slowly hula hooping. The contractions felt the worst when I had to be tethered to the bed for monitoring.

Also, I did vocalizations - lots of deep "Ohs." I sort of felt like I was mooing like a cow!

I definitely stayed in the moment instead of focusing on how much longer I had to go or how much more the next contraction would hurt. Anytime I started thinking negatively I did a lot of self talk to focus on the present.

Honestly, the last 5 or so contractions I didn't know how to cope. The nurse did counter pressure and massage. She would ask me if I would like her to do such and such, and I would say "I don't know!" But, at that point, baby was on her way, so I only felt out of control for about 10 minutes.
post #16 of 18
Originally Posted by sdmomma View Post
Also, I did vocalizations - lots of deep "Ohs." I sort of felt like I was mooing like a cow!
My mom told me that I sounded like a foghorn when I was in labor with DD2. It worked for me though!
post #17 of 18
Originally Posted by plantmama View Post
This time I also have some motherwort and skullcap tincture and rescue remedy. But I don't know if they will be needed or helpful. I mostly have the motherwort because this is my 3rd and it's supposed to help a lot with afterpains.
I've found that motherwort rocks for transition as well. It makes it easier to be dreamy and really get into laborland and eases away anxiety.

To add to the awesome suggestions above, I found that loving each wave of contractions helped and that when I finally got to the place where I just didn't love them as much, I used the Birthing From Within spiraling technique to blow away the intensity until I could start loving them again. I think being a VBAC mom helped with that though because I was so grateful for each contraction and to even be laboring in the first place.
post #18 of 18
What helped me the most was the breathing I learned in yoga. Nice, deep, cleansing breaths.

Sometimes, my instructor had us either repeat a "mantra" in our heads while breathing. Mine was always Healthy Baby. It got to the point where just thinking that any time was realaxing for me. I have been using it again, especially at night when I can't sleep.

Other times, my instructor had us think "happy thoughts" on the inhale- and and breath out whatever it was causing you stress or pain.

My thoughts sometimes went like this: breath in: healthy baby. Breath out: anxiety. Breath in: courage. Breath out: pain. Breath in: strenghth. Breath out: fear.

For me, it really helped to have this to focus on while breathing.
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