by Laura Hill (YDD Back Up Team Member)
Labour can be a daunting experience, but with the right planning, aids, and support, it can be a more comfortable one. Comfort measures during labour can help alleviate pain, reduce anxiety, and promote relaxation, making for a more positive birth experience. These measures are non-pharmacological techniques that aim to enhance the birthing person’s sense of control and well-being during labour. It is also important to have a support system in place, such as a partner or doula, to help with relaxation techniques and provide emotional support.
These measures are non-pharmacological techniques that aim to enhance the birthing person’s sense of control and well-being during labour
1. Baths and Showers
Hydrotherapy is a safe and effective method of relaxation and pain relief that has been used
for centuries. The warmth and buoyancy of the water in a deep bath causes a decrease in
stress hormones and increase in production of oxytocin.
2. Touch and Massage
Find out what kind of touch you find comforting and use that during labour. Light touch,
counter-pressure techniques, acupressure points and massage can help to release tension in
muscles and promote relaxation. Massaging with oils containing scents like lavender or
peppermint can also be helpful in promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety.
3. Peanut Ball
A peanut ball is an exercise ball used to help open the pelvis and increase the progress of
labour. It is especially helpful for positioning and pushing with an epidural.
4. Heat and Cold
Both heat and cold can provide comfort during labour and afterwards. Heat or cold (or an
alternation of the two) applied to the low back may help relieve pain. And a warm compress
on the perineum can be used to relieve pain and soothe the area.
5. TENS Unit
A TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) unit is a battery-operated device that
delivers electrical impulses through electrodes to your skin. These impulses are thought to
stimulate the release of endorphins, which when used during early labour, can build up to
reduce the sensation of pain.
Want to get prepared for pregnancy, birth and postpartum? Grab our free Bump to Baby Checklist! This clear and thorough guide walks you through everything to expect from your first trimester to past your 6 week postpartum check up.
- What tests and screenings will be offered and when
- When to sign up for prenatal education and what types to consider
- Things you should think about that your care provider may not mention
- Links to helpful resources