In light of all the craziness currently happening with COVID-19, we decided to re-release this episode about comfort measures in labor. Many people will be having their babies with little or no support because of the current hospital restrictions and we hope that these tips will help with managing the intensity of labor, especially if you’re doing it without the support you’d planned on having. Additionally, here are a few helpful resources that we mentioned at the top of the episode:

Karly and Ali get down to the nitty gritty details of coping with the pain of labor and birth. They explain why it’s essential for every birthing person to learn about non-medical coping techniques (even if they plan to use pain medication during their birth) and they review the best tools and techniques for pain management. Here’s an overview of everything that’s covered in this episode:

  • The reasons why it is SO important to know a variety of non-medical pain management coping techniques, including times when birth goes too quickly to use medication or when meds don’t work effectively
  • What the 5 elements of birth are and why they’re an essential part of pain management in labor
  • Why you should consider hiring a doula for your birth (including this great article on the evidence for doulas)
  • The reasons it’s SO important to do some sort of childbirth education during pregnancy
  • Helpful tools in labor:
  • Coping techniques in labor:
    • The 3 R’s – relaxation, rhythm, ritual (as mentioned in The Birth Partner by Penny Simpkin)
    • Vocalizations/low moans
    • Movement and changing positions
      • Check out The Birth Partner for some great diagrams of all the different labor/birth positions
    • Breath work
    • Hydrotherapy
    • Light touch/massage, sacral counter pressure, hip squeeze
    • Visualizations (i.e. breathing to your baby, walking/running up and over a hill, progressive relaxation throughout your entire body)
    • Music (Deep Theta by Steven Halpern is one of Ali’s favorites)
    • The mindset of birth
      • You are stronger than you even realize. Believe in yourself!
      • Stay in the moment. You can do anything for a minute! You are going to give birth one breathe at a time.
      • Remember, this is pain with a purpose.
    • Be SURE to stay hydrated and well fed. Being undernourished and dehydrated can increase pain and difficulty of labor while reducing your energy/ability to cope
  • Why it’s so important to choose your birth team carefully and only invite people who support your birth goals
  • Why you might consider choosing a code word to use in labor, that way your team will know when to encourage you and when to order up that epidural!
  • How to communicate your preferences to the staff at your birthing location, including some guidelines for putting together your birth preferences sheet
  • Books/resources to help you and your birth partner(s)

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