Tips To Get You Through Without Pain Medication!
Location, location, location
1. Choose a place that supports normal birth, a place where you'll be comfortable. This may be at home, in a birth center or a hospital.
2. Choose a healthcare provider who supports the practices that promote normal birth. Many women have found that the care provided by midwives includes more labor support and less intervention.
3. Don't request or agree to induction of labor unless there's a medical indication for doing so. Allowing your body to go into labor on its own is usually the best sign that your baby is ready to be born. Allow your labor to find its own pace and rhythm. Don't focus on the clock, and don't use Pitocin to speed up your labor without first having a medical indication for doing so.
Make a move!
4. Plan to move around freely during labor. You'll be more comfortable, your labor will progress quickly and your baby will move through the birth canal easily if you stay upright and respond to the pain of your labor by changing positions. Try rocking, straddling a chair, lunging, walking and slow dancing.
5. Who will be providing support during labor and birth? Consider hiring a doula or other professional labor support person to give you, your partner and any other support person who's with you continuous emotional and physical support.
6. Ask that your baby's heartbeat be monitored intermittently instead of all the time so that belts, cords or wires do not tie you to a machine or specific place.
Follow your instincts
7. Eat and drink as your body tells you. Drinking plenty of fluids during labor will give you energy and keep you from getting dehydrated.
8. Use nonpharmacologic pain management strategies. For many women, warm baths and showers give powerful pain relief. Practice using birth balls, massage, hot and cold packs, aromatherapy, focused breathing and other comfort measures learned in Lamaze childbirth classes.
9. Don't give birth on your back! Upright positions (sitting, squatting or standing) and on all fours or your side are more comfortable, increase the effectiveness of your contractions and enable you to work with gravity. Push when your body tells you to, and ask that support persons give only quiet encouragement. "Cheerleading" or counting is not recommended. Simply work with your body's own cues and rhythm.
10. Keep your baby with you after birth. Skin-to-skin contact keeps your baby warm and helps to regulate your baby's heartbeat and breathing. Staying in the same room helps you to get to know each other, and it lets you respond to early feeding cues and get breastfeeding off to a good start.
If problems arise, ask questions about the risks and the benefits of any recommended intervention. Understand that sometimes labor and birth don't go as expected. If you're involved with decisions about your care and have good labor support, you're more likely to be satisfied with the birth, even if medical interventions are necessary.