The excitement many expectant moms experience can go hand-in-hand with nervous jitters about the inevitable discomfort of labor. It's no secret it can cause intense pain and pressure. However, there are some tricks you can try to calm and relax you during that time. If they work, you can think less about the stress and more about the baby.
Many women opt for IV medication to relieve some of the lower-back and pelvic pressure caused by contractions. Intravenous medications are pain-relieving drugs delivered in the muscle through a self-controlled pump or injection. "Depending on the medication used and the pain level, the patient may receive one or multiple doses," says Dr. Doerthe Brueggmann, a Los Angeles-based obstetrician-gynecologist with Health Goes Female.
The expecting mom can also manage pain with an epidural anesthesia. According to Brueggmann, a qualified professional will use a catheter or needle to inject a local anesthetic or narcotic medication into the woman's lower back. It's an option at any stage of labor. The relief lasts for different amounts of time depending on if the medication is given continuously or all at once.
Breathing techniques that require you to count or visualize something positive can help relax you during each contraction, says Brueggmann. In addition, massages from a labor partner, spouse or family member may reduce the tension in your neck and back. Incorporating aromatherapy with familiar scents such as lavender and vanilla can also produce a calming effect.
Hydrotherapy is one of the main techniques to reduce labor pressure and lower back-pain discomfort says Melissa Troncale, an Arizona-based midwife with MomDoc Midwives. "If a woman gets in a bathtub or pool, she will notice back relief and less pressure, making contractions less painful," she says. "Water immersion or therapy can also allow the baby to rotate when needed." If a contained water option isn't easily accessible, Troncale suggests a warm shower instead.
Exercising prior to delivery can strengthen your muscles and prepare your body for the birthing process. However, mild exercise during delivery can also help reduce pain, according to Dr. Jenny M. Jaque, a Los Angeles-based obstetrician-gynecologist with Health Goes Female. If lying in bed is causing you discomfort, take a brief walk, bounce gently on an exercise ball or stretch your arms and legs.