7 Non-Medicated Pregnancy Pain Management Techniques

September 2019

Consider these chemical- and intervention-free relaxation strategies for your labor and delivery.

Listening to music is one of the non-medicated pregnancy pain management techniques in this post.Each expectant mom has a different vision for her birth plan. Some may decide they would like medical pain relief treatments like epidurals. Others may want a natural childbirth with intervention-free relaxation strategies, and some might choose to use a mix of both. In this post, we’re examining non-medicated pregnancy pain management techniques that can help you relax during labor and delivery without medical intervention. These methods can be used alone or in combination with other treatments—use whatever formula is right for you!

  1. Listen to music
  2. Create a relaxing environment
  3. Practice breathing exercises
  4. Incorporate physical movement
  5. Apply ice packs or heating pads
  6. Have someone massage you
  7. Get in the shower or bath

Below, learn more about how to implement these pregnancy pain management techniques.

Listen to music

To enhance your comfort during labor and delivery, consider creating several birth playlists before the big day. Having different options will help you customize the music and sounds to your mood at the time. For instance, one could be your favorite upbeat tunes to get you feeling energized. Another could be slow instrumental songs to help you relax. And a third could be relaxing nature sounds of birds, ocean waves, or gentle rain falling to help carry you away to a serene place. In addition to serving as a welcome distraction, music can also help with the pain. Studies show that anything that awakens your emotions will help, but that music expressing contentment is the most effective for pain relief.

Check out some of the best songs for labor and delivery, according to The Bump.

Create a relaxing environment

Another non-medicated pregnancy pain management technique has to do with creating a relaxing environment. Music can be one component, but it helps to engage the other senses too. In the weeks leading up to your due date, pick out some things you could bring as a “relaxation kit.” For instance, ask your pregnancy care provider if candles, aromatherapy diffusers, or essential oils would be allowed in your delivery room. You may also consider bringing beautiful photos to look at, a favorite blanket to touch, or any other personal items to make the room feel familiar and comforting.

Practicing hypnobirthing can also set the tone for relaxation while also helping you bond with your baby during labor and delivery. Our certified nurse-midwives, Cindy Stippich, MSN, CNM, APNP and Brittany Froeming, CNM, APNP, are experts in helping women interested in this effective non-medicated pregnancy pain management technique. Schedule an appointment with us to learn more about it.

Practice breathing exercises

Lamaze and other birthing classes are popular among expecting mothers. They teach controlled breathing techniques like maintaining a rhythm, breathing through your mouth or nose, and keeping your eyes closed or open. The technique changes depending on the stage of labor you’re in. For instance, in the first stage of labor, the breathing is slow and controlled. During active labor, you may speed up the intensity and switch back to light breathing again. There are also techniques for transitioning between contractions where you can verbalize a “hee” sound for short breaths and a “hoo” sound for longer breaths. Breathing as a non-medicated pregnancy pain management technique can keep you focused during labor and help ease the pain. To prepare for the big day, you can practice patterned breathing throughout your pregnancy, so it feels natural during labor.

Incorporate physical movement

Physical movements for pregnancy pain management can range from changing birth positions to gentle movement. Some labor positions include a standing supported squat, sitting on the toilet, laying on your side, leaning or kneeling forward with support, or laying on your back with your legs raised. If your women’s health care provider or certified nurse-midwife says it’s safe, you may also try rolling on a birth ball or other forms of movement. Climbing stairs, kneeling on all-fours, dancing slowly, or even some yoga poses may help boost your mood, provide a distraction, and could also make labor progress.

Apply ice packs or heating padsThere are many non-medicated pregnancy pain management techniques you can use during labor and delivery.

Do you prefer heat or cold? It’s up to you! Many women find that a heating pad is a non-medicated pregnancy pain management technique that helps them relax and banish chills. On the other hand, if the exertion is making you hot or you’re having back pain, you might be craving cold therapy instead.

Have someone massage you

You might not feel like being touched at all during labor, which is fine. But if you would like some help relaxing your muscles, your partner or labor coach could help with different types of massage or touch pressure. Light stroking, rhythmic kneading, or reflexology could all be helpful.

In addition to helping you with massage, a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) can help you mentally and physically prepare for labor, provide emotional support, serve as your birth advocate, and deliver access to medical interventions, if needed. Discover more about the benefits of having a CNM as your labor coach on our blog.

Get in the shower or bath

Lastly, hydrotherapy – or getting in the shower or bathtub – is another popular non-medicated pregnancy pain management technique. For some women, the warmth and pressure of a shower or the weightless feeling of a bath can promote relaxation as you move through your contractions.

Choosing a pregnancy practitioner who meets your needs can help you consider these and other non-medicated pregnancy pain management techniques even further. To schedule an appointment with our doctors, midwives, and women’s health providers, call 920.885.6090 or contact us online.

This is a public forum, by which BDWH provides general information to patients and prospective patients. You should not post any personal or identifying information on this Blog. The information that appears on this Blog does not constitute medical advice and is not a substitute for a consultation with a Healthcare Professional.

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