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How Will I Cope with Labor?

How Will I Cope in Labor
How will I cope with labor? What are the options?
Some mothers know exactly what they want and others would like to research and learn about their options. Here is a brief summary of some pain relief and coping strategies used in labor.

1. Unmedicated/Comfort Measures

Laboring mothers that plan to go without medicine often prepare themselves with a number of coping strategies and comfort measures. These include: having a supportive birth team, partner and doula, changing positions frequently, using recorded meditations, breathing, music, touch, massage, aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, rebozo, laboring in a tub of water, affirmations, and more.

2. HypnoBirthing

The book “HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method” by Marie F. Mongan, presents a method that can be learned to go into a deep state of relaxation, calm your mind, to have a less painful and more satisfying birth experience. Classes are taught by certified HypnoBirthing educators over a four to five week period to give you the tools needed to practice, prepare and use the HypnoBirthing Method in labor.

3. Nitrous Oxide (aka laughing gas)

The awareness and use of nitrous oxide in labor is growing in the United States. Nitrous oxide does not numb you but it can decrease your perception of labor pain. Once you stop breathing the gas through the mask it leaves your system within five minutes. Since it is self administered you have control over how much to use and it can be easily discontinued. It is a less invasive pain relief option, does not affect breastfeeding or infant alertness after birth. Possible side effects may include dizziness and nausea.

3. Narcotic medicine

Narcotic medications such as stadol, morphine, demerol or nubain can be administered through a one time shot, or through your IV. These provide relief for a number of hours. Narcotics do not numb you but can take the edge off and help reduce anxiety. They should not interfere with your ability to push. Possible side effects include nausea, dizziness, vomiting, itching and sedation. These medicines cross over the placenta and may affect your baby causing drowsiness or other side effects.

4. Epidural anesthesia

An epidural provides pain relief and decreases sensation in the lower half of your body. This is the most popular form of pain relief used today. An epidural can allow you to rest if your labor is long, prevent exhaustion and help you to be more comfortable. An epidural can help you to remain awake and participate in the birth of your baby if you need a cesarean. Side effects may include: slowing labor down, difficulty with pushing, blood pressure drop, headaches, backache, soreness at insertion site and nausea. This medicine also crosses over the placenta and could possibly have effects on your baby: lethargy, struggle with latching, etc. Always speak with your care provider to ensure any options you choose are safe for you and your baby.

About Christie Collbran

Christie Collbran is the owner and founder of Buddha Belly. Christie believes in helping women recognize their own inner wisdom, strength and power and has more than ten years of experience serving families as a doula.

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