Discovering that you are pregnant can cause a variety of emotions and feelings, often accompanied by fear of the unknown. A common fear is pain during labor. There are always people around to give horror birthing stories, so it is easy to get caught up in that fear. However, there are multiple ways to deal with pain, such as massages, meditation, and medication. My method – relaxation.
During my first pregnancy, my mind often wandered to the impending birth. Besides knowing there would be pain, I had no idea what to expect. I tried to avoid dwelling on the fear, as I didn’t want to overly panic in the hospital. Thankfully, when the time came, I was surprisingly calm and instinctively found my rhythm of pain relief. A few years later, I used this technique again for my second child’s birth.
During each contraction, I focus on my body instead of the pain. People naturally tense up during pain, often clenching their jaws, and that is where I begin. I concentrate on my jaw and force it to relax. I calmly move my focus down through my neck and down to my shoulders, another area where tension naturally settles. I concentrate on my shoulders relaxing and imagine the tension going away.
Continuing in this fashion, I travel through my arms, my hands, my chest, and pause on my stomach. This is where the pain is actually concentrated, and it helps to know what pain I am really dealing with. It helps remove the “fear of the unknown” issue in regards to the pain.
After my stomach, I slowly move down my legs, relaxing as I go, and end at my toes. If the contraction is still going, I go back to my jaw and start over.
Once the contraction is gone, it is important to relax completely in order to save energy and calm down. To accomplish this quickly, I simply go limp and keep my breathing slow and calm. It is easy to stay tense and wait for the next contraction, but that only makes the pain worse.
This method doesn’t make the pain go away, but it does keep panic and tension at bay. Panic and tension often amplify pain, so without those, the pain can be manageable. I can even use this process for problems such as simply stubbing my toe.
If you are hoping for an unmedicated birth, relaxation might be the key. Of course, there are other methods of pain-relief if needed.