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How to Deal with the Pain of Childbirth


The pain of labor and delivery during the natural childbirth process can be effectively dealt with better when some pre-planning is done.  Preparing with pain coping strategies can also alleviate some of the anxiety which will make the process easier when the time comes.

Talk with Your Health Care Provider

Review the pain control options for natural childbirth with the person scheduled to deliver your baby. Inquire as to what kinds of pain control methods are available. Discuss how effective the presented methods are likely to be and ask what you can do beforehand to make the labor and birth process more manageable. Devise a birth plan to make preferences and options clearer for everyone involved. Include your partner in the process so that you have your support system in place.

Types of Pain

Generally, pain during labor is due to uterine muscle contractions and pressure on the cervix. This kind of pain can manifest as cramps in the abdomen, back and groin which is sometimes similar to menstrual cramps. Just as with the menstrual cycle, there can also be a tired and achy feeling along with thigh and side pain as well. Other pain sources can include bladder and bowel discomfort as the baby's head descends into the birth canal and vaginal area.

Preparing for Pain Management

Some women choose to give birth with no medication, instead relying upon relaxation techniques and controlled breathing for any pain. If this is your intention, it is important to inform your health care provider.

In order to reduce pain during labor and the birth process, below are some techniques that may be done before and during pregnancy.


Regular exercise, as recommended by your health care practitioner can be very beneficial for pain management. Exercise can greatly strengthen muscles in preparing the body for labor stress. Endurance can also be enhanced with exercise. Use a safe regimen and don't overdo it.

Attend Natural Childbirth Classes

Childbirth classes offer a range of techniques for handling pain, including visualization and stretches that can strengthen muscles supporting the uterus. The Lamaze and Bradley techniques are two popular methods to consider.

The Lamaze philosophy teaches a healthy process with ways to decrease pain perception using relaxation, breathing exercises, massage and distraction. A supportive coach is an essential part of the Lamaze approach.

The Bradley method (Husband-Coached Birth) emphasizes the inclusion of the baby's father as birth coach. It also incorporates and advocates good nutrition and exercise during pregnancy. Relaxation and deep-breathing methods are used to cope with labor. The classes prepare parents for possible complications, such as emergency cesarean sections.

Pain Management Techniques

Some other ways to address labor pain can include: walking, yoga, hypnosis, meditation,  massage or counterpressure, baths and showers, changing positions and distraction through other mental activities.  

Managing labor pain varies from woman to woman, since women all experience labor pain in different ways and on varied levels. For some, the pain can resemble menstrual cramps, while others may consider that they have had severe pressure.

Above all, have your intentions written out and a plan in place so that you are not faced with having to make last minute decisions when the time comes. Have alternatives in place so that if the pain is not as manageable as you anticipated, you can safely and effectively reduce the stress of childbirth. By educating yourself about all options and having a plan in place, you will be more prepared which will eliminate stress and anxiety, for as smooth a natural childbirth as possible.

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