There are a variety of methods that promote comfort. Whatever your preference, you may want to consider these additional comfort measures in planning your labor and birth.
While every measure may not be offered in every medical setting, the following therapies are more readily available and generally accepted. If there is a specific one that you want to practice, call and ask your childbirth educator or staff at the delivery center if it is available, or if you need to bring in supplies on your own.
Heat helps to relax tense and sore muscles while increasing the blood flow to this area. Suggestions include: warm or hot towels (dry or moist), or a heating pad to provide heat to a specific region.
Applying ice or cool packs may provide a numbing effect to areas of discomfort by reducing the blood flow and swelling.
Therapeutic and tension-relieving qualities of certain scents are well recognized. Pleasant experiences stimulate the “good feeling” part of the brain which may result in a release of hormones called endorphins (act as the body’s natural pain relievers). In labor, scents that work well are chamomile, sandalwood, vanilla and lavender.
Some women find music relaxing, while others may find it distracting. If you relax with music or a favorite radio program, be sure to have a CD, tape or radio with you during labor.
Some birthing facilities offer showers or tubs for use during labor. These may be used to help relieve muscle aches and tension.
Birthing Balls/Balance Balls
Balance balls may be used in labor to help reduce labor pains by placing it under the areas where the most pain is felt. The ball allows for a natural rocking motion, keeping the baby in alignment with the pelvis, and may improve the progress of labor.
Tennis balls for back massage
These come in handy for back labor when deep pressure applied to the lower back area brings relief. Place the tennis balls in a long tube sock so you can rest them on the lower back and direct their pressure to wherever you need it.