No one likes pain, least of all pregnant women. Although obstetricians do a great job providing prenatal care and childbirth deliveries, there is always room for improvement regarding patient education.
The management of labor pain is usually delegated to the Anesthesia Department within a hospital or an ambulatory center. The goal of anesthesia is to eliminate physical pain and any suffering that might be a result of pain. However pain and suffering may not always be about cause and effect. To quote the literature, “Although pain and suffering often occur together, one may suffer without pain or have pain without suffering.” Some women want to eliminate pain and others view it as a normal process. However, to the well initiated, it is well known that women who are in pain and “suffering” do not progress as quickly in labor as those who are pain free. For those pregnant moms who would prefer not to have “drugs” here are some options however, please keep in mind that information regarding the safety and effectiveness of these methods is “scientifically” limited, meaning the subjects involved in medical studies to prove whether these methods work or not are small. Having said that, listed below are some of the most popular ways to reduce pain without drugs, however, please consult your physician or healthcare provider prior to using them.
1. Be in an environment that simulates home such as a birthing room. Although home deliveries are increasing, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does not support this method.
2. Continuous labor support such as a doula
3. Immerse in warm water to cover the abdomen and reduce labor pain
4. Sterile water injections in the lower back to decrease back pain
5. Walk around the hospital during the early 1st stage of labor provided your vital signs are stable
6. Touch and massage therapy
7. Acupuncture and Aromatherapy
9. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
10. Obtain childbirth education
Listing these options does not constitute a personal endorsement of any of the methods but is provided to increase a pregnant woman’s options regarding enhancing her birth experience and having a greater sense of control regarding the process.
Remember, a healthy pregnancy doesn’t just happen. It takes a smart mother who knows what to do.
*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway*