How bad are labour pains and the actual childbirth? This is a common question asked by girls who for the first time are expecting a baby. Not going to try and sugar coat this, and although pregnancy is a lovely thing, trust me, labour pains aren’t.

Labour pains are an indication that baby’s on the way and unfortunately neither the tummy pains and actual birth can be prevented. If it’s any consolation the pains are tolerable. If they weren’t you can bet your life on it that there wouldn’t be a second baby. Nonetheless, there is good news that things that can be done to help reduce the discomforts that come with pregnancy.

How can there not be pain included when giving birth because after all the uterus has a lot to do—squeezing the baby down towards the birth canal for the head to ease through the cervix and then out of the vagina.

Some girls during childbirth choose that their baby is delivered naturally without pain relief, while, the number is great for the girls who scream for every needle available that’ll help ease their pain.

Years ago women handled labour spasms right up to the last exhausting push, simply because, pain relief unlike what we have today was unavailable. These days women have it easy to back then and have choices ie. like planning their own birth plan. This could include refusing medication, opting for alternative medicine and non-drug approaches to manage their pain, or choose to give birth with the help of anaesthetics.

What can I do to stop labour pains? Sadly there is nothing you can do, but on the bright side, doctors can work miracles when it comes to pain relief.

Epidural is a popular method of pain relief used in the maternity delivery room. Not only is it used on women during childbirth, but also for all types of other surgeries too. Girls due to give birth and who have been appointed for an epidural are fully conscious and aware of what is going on with a minimal amount of discomfort until the baby is born. A full epidural is a typical process used for a c-section to fully numb the lower body. The epidural is administered by a skilled anaesthetist through a thin tube (catheter) that is inserted into the lower back during active labour (distinguished by strong consistent contractions and cervical dilation of at least 4 centimetres). Women should still be able to push with contractions, but if too much epidural is given it can hamper pushing, therefore the woman is assisted with the aid of forceps or a vacuum to help the unborn infant through the birth canal.

Pethidine another common painkiller. It is anti-spasmodic which simply means helps you relax. This was my chosen pain relief when having my second son which was injected in the leg and then when the drug started to work I could have had one baby after another. Pethidine is an opiate drug, similar to morphine. It’s a clear liquid administered into a muscle, usually the leg or buttock (top) which impedes the pain receptors to the brain. It’s a sedative and muscle relaxant which can cause drowsiness. It’s fast working (10-15 minutes). The full benefit of the drug normally kicks in after about half an hour lasting around 3-4 hours.

Women differ and some prefer to have their baby delivered at home, while this is an option of choice, I personally feel the hospital is the safest place to bring a baby into the world. Should anything go wrong during delivery, at least mother and baby have a chance of surviving any complications due to proper equipment being close to hand?

Study some time back reported 95% of home birth mothers said they enjoyed the birth, compared to 76% of hospital births. I’m not one to question this, but could the 95% have been fortunate with good pain threshold.

Pain tolerance is not something you can predict until it actually happens, and for this reason, pregnant women need to know of the pain relief available to them for when it comes whether it be mild or intense.

Gas and air, pethidine or epidural come with side effects so bear this mind when choosing pain relief.

Things to know that is helpful:

Pregnant women are in complete control when using the Tens semi-natural method. Tiny electrical impulses are released into the nerves below the skin.

Birth classes teach breathing exercises and positions which helps reduce the intensity of labour pains.

Acupressure is a pain relief method that’s beginning to get noticed as a strong rival to medicinal drugs.

Pregnant women either swear by the birth ball for helping with their pain, while others can take it or leave it. Before or during labour the ball is sat on to roll the hips around on it.

Hot compress works wonders because the heat relaxes tense muscles.

Warm the back, tummy or groin using a wheat bag or a hot water bottle.

Although deemed natural sources some herbal remedies are dangerous so talk to the herbalist.

Supposedly sipping isotonic drinks or water in between contractions help tremendously with pregnancy pains.

Relaxation and movement classes can help greatly e.g. yoga.

A full bladder can slow labour down so use the toilet when needed.

Soak in a warm bath and relax.

If you have questions about your pregnancy that is stressing you out then ask your doctor/midwife as this can worsen the pain.

Because you can’t stop labour pains go along with them to better manage the discomfort. Plenty of rest to preserve energy will help with those painful contractions you CAN’T prevent.

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