11 Ways to Manage Pain in Childbirth

We are naturally scared of childbirth, but I’m here to calm your fears! The fact of the matter is that we are built to give birth. It’s society's fear that makes it painful because we are taught to be scared, and that means we enter the birth room in a position of fear rather than confidence! This is because fear creates tension and tension creates pain. It’s a cycle we don’t want you in when in labour!

Let’s look at the top 11 ways labour can be made unnecessarily painful, and how to avoid each one…

1. Set up the perfect birth environment

An unsatisfactory birth environment is the greatest threat to your sense of calm, and is the ultimate way that pain is allowed to creep in. Oxytocin and endorphins - which are vital for labour - need darkness, calm and safety to do their job. If you have the lights on, or are surrounded by people and don’t feel private, then adrenaline will get the chance to run riot. Adrenaline is our worst enemy during labour, as it cuts through our precious pain killing hormones. So before birth, imagine your perfect environment. What does it look like? What does it feel and smell like? Do whatever you need to do to create a cosy, peaceful space to give birth in. Remember, the best way to bring out oxytocin and endorphins is to be in a dark, calm space and to feel unobserved and private.

2. Avoid negative language

You don’t need to hear negative comments like ‘failure to progress’...I mean, what a terrible statement to make! Block out the noise by wearing headphones so you’re in your own bubble, and listen to hypnosis tracks to stay focused and in control. This will keep you feeling private and calm and this will boost oxytocin and endorphins.

3. Avoid unnecessary intervention

Some intervention is necessary, but some is not. Intervention can actually make birth more painful - which is ironic. A classic example of this is induction, which is typically more painful than a labour that has started naturally and spontaneously. Be aware of your options and understand how an intervention might impact you, your body and your baby, so you can make informed decisions.

4. Avoid lying on your back

Long gone are the days of women birthing on their backs! I mean, it still happens - but it’s widely renowned these days as an unhelpful position. Why? Because your sacrum, which moves out of the way as your baby moves down the birth canal - has nowhere to go. This is painful! To avoid this, remember UFO - upright, forward and open… be UPRIGHT, lean FORWARD and this will OPEN your hips and allow your pelvis to move. Moving around and changing positions, is one of the most important things you can do to manage the pain and  remember, gravity is on your side! If someone asks you to lay on your back – you have the right to refuse! Midwives can actually assess labour without you being on your back.

woman_laying_on_her_back_being_coached_to_push_during_childbirth

5. Prepare, prepare, prepare!

Prepare all of the right triggers that will help to keep you in a deeply relaxed state during labour. My top tips are:

  1. Prepare an epic birth playlist that you can put on throughout labour and listen to through headphones.
  2. Practice massage with your partner in advance of birth so your birth partner knows the best techniques to keep you relaxed and boost your oxytocin levels
  3. Learn the BRAIN acronym with your birth partner so they are able to charge when you are in labour
  4. Do the butterbean hypnobirthing course with your birth partner so you are on the same page and ready to work as a team when you go into labour.

You may have more ideas on how to prepare, jot them all down and then – make them happen!

6. Tackle your fears

Ever heard of the ‘fear tension pain cycle’? Well, my friends, it exists! You feel fear, this in turn creates tension and this in turn causes pain. Why? Because you stop breathing, you go into fight or flight mode and your body receives less oxygen, so your muscles have to work harder. And your endorphins - which are 10 times more powerful than morphine - are interrupted by adrenaline and don’t have the chance to work their magic. You can read our blog specifically on avoiding fear during labour for more information on this.

7. Listen to your hypnosis tracks

The butterbean hypnosis tracks are designed to keep you in a deeply relaxed state ahead of birth so that your hormones can do their thing in making labour less painful and more manageable. Listen to the tracks on the butterbean website as much as possible ahead of labour so that your subconscious is primed to know that birth is not dangerous and that you are safe.

pregnant_woman_hypnobirthing_relaxation

8. Prepare with yoga

You may not want to take a yoga class during labour but practicing yoga ahead of birth can really help you to practice relaxation and breathing. Knowing how to breathe in labour is so important and thankfully it’s very simple deep yogic breathing that we do during labour. Taking regular classes also helps to prepare your body for birth so when the time comes – you are fitter and know how to make your breath work in your favour.

9. Learn about different positions for birth

You may be encouraged to lay on your back during labour and this can make things much worse. Learn about different positions for birth so that you know the ones that suit you best and can get into them quickly during labour without having to think too much about it.

10. Get in the pool!

A birth pool is a very effective way to manage pain. The warm water is soothing to your muscles and being in water makes you more buoyant which can be really soothing. Being in water also makes you feel more private. A birth pool is a brilliant way to boost oxytocin and endorphins! If you don’t have a birth pool you can get in the bath or even try running a hot shower over your lower back.

11. Get a TENS machine

A TENS machine is a sure fire way of boosting your endorphins. The sticky pads which go on your back, release electrical pulses and this triggers your brain to release more endorphins which are your pain reliving hormone. A word of warning to birth partners – a TENS machine can be turned up very high during labour so avoid touching the sticky pads, you may get a bit of a shock!

 

The more you know, the more confident you feel. Butterbean is here to bust myths, reframe fears, and help you understand your options. For more advice on managing pain, harnessing the painkilling power of your hormones, reducing stress during labour and staying in control, be sure to head to the butterbean platform.

Other blogs which may help include ‘A Whistle Stop Tour of Birth’ and ‘8 Signs That Labour is Imminent’.

 

pregnant_woman_holding_baby_bump

11 Ways to Manage Pain in Childbirth

pregnant_woman_holding_baby_bump

We are naturally scared of childbirth, but I’m here to calm your fears! The fact of the matter is that we are built to give birth. It’s society's fear that makes it painful because we are taught to be scared, and that means we enter the birth room in a position of fear rather than confidence! This is because fear creates tension and tension creates pain. It’s a cycle we don’t want you in when in labour!

Let’s look at the top 11 ways labour can be made unnecessarily painful, and how to avoid each one…

1. Set up the perfect birth environment

An unsatisfactory birth environment is the greatest threat to your sense of calm, and is the ultimate way that pain is allowed to creep in. Oxytocin and endorphins - which are vital for labour - need darkness, calm and safety to do their job. If you have the lights on, or are surrounded by people and don’t feel private, then adrenaline will get the chance to run riot. Adrenaline is our worst enemy during labour, as it cuts through our precious pain killing hormones. So before birth, imagine your perfect environment. What does it look like? What does it feel and smell like? Do whatever you need to do to create a cosy, peaceful space to give birth in. Remember, the best way to bring out oxytocin and endorphins is to be in a dark, calm space and to feel unobserved and private.

2. Avoid negative language

You don’t need to hear negative comments like ‘failure to progress’...I mean, what a terrible statement to make! Block out the noise by wearing headphones so you’re in your own bubble, and listen to hypnosis tracks to stay focused and in control. This will keep you feeling private and calm and this will boost oxytocin and endorphins.

3. Avoid unnecessary intervention

Some intervention is necessary, but some is not. Intervention can actually make birth more painful - which is ironic. A classic example of this is induction, which is typically more painful than a labour that has started naturally and spontaneously. Be aware of your options and understand how an intervention might impact you, your body and your baby, so you can make informed decisions.

4. Avoid lying on your back

Long gone are the days of women birthing on their backs! I mean, it still happens - but it’s widely renowned these days as an unhelpful position. Why? Because your sacrum, which moves out of the way as your baby moves down the birth canal - has nowhere to go. This is painful! To avoid this, remember UFO - upright, forward and open… be UPRIGHT, lean FORWARD and this will OPEN your hips and allow your pelvis to move. Moving around and changing positions, is one of the most important things you can do to manage the pain and  remember, gravity is on your side! If someone asks you to lay on your back – you have the right to refuse! Midwives can actually assess labour without you being on your back.

woman_laying_on_her_back_being_coached_to_push_during_childbirth

5. Prepare, prepare, prepare!

Prepare all of the right triggers that will help to keep you in a deeply relaxed state during labour. My top tips are:

  1. Prepare an epic birth playlist that you can put on throughout labour and listen to through headphones.
  2. Practice massage with your partner in advance of birth so your birth partner knows the best techniques to keep you relaxed and boost your oxytocin levels
  3. Learn the BRAIN acronym with your birth partner so they are able to charge when you are in labour
  4. Do the butterbean hypnobirthing course with your birth partner so you are on the same page and ready to work as a team when you go into labour.

You may have more ideas on how to prepare, jot them all down and then – make them happen!

6. Tackle your fears

Ever heard of the ‘fear tension pain cycle’? Well, my friends, it exists! You feel fear, this in turn creates tension and this in turn causes pain. Why? Because you stop breathing, you go into fight or flight mode and your body receives less oxygen, so your muscles have to work harder. And your endorphins - which are 10 times more powerful than morphine - are interrupted by adrenaline and don’t have the chance to work their magic. You can read our blog specifically on avoiding fear during labour for more information on this.

7. Listen to your hypnosis tracks

The butterbean hypnosis tracks are designed to keep you in a deeply relaxed state ahead of birth so that your hormones can do their thing in making labour less painful and more manageable. Listen to the tracks on the butterbean website as much as possible ahead of labour so that your subconscious is primed to know that birth is not dangerous and that you are safe.

pregnant_woman_hypnobirthing_relaxation

8. Prepare with yoga

You may not want to take a yoga class during labour but practicing yoga ahead of birth can really help you to practice relaxation and breathing. Knowing how to breathe in labour is so important and thankfully it’s very simple deep yogic breathing that we do during labour. Taking regular classes also helps to prepare your body for birth so when the time comes – you are fitter and know how to make your breath work in your favour.

9. Learn about different positions for birth

You may be encouraged to lay on your back during labour and this can make things much worse. Learn about different positions for birth so that you know the ones that suit you best and can get into them quickly during labour without having to think too much about it.

10. Get in the pool!

A birth pool is a very effective way to manage pain. The warm water is soothing to your muscles and being in water makes you more buoyant which can be really soothing. Being in water also makes you feel more private. A birth pool is a brilliant way to boost oxytocin and endorphins! If you don’t have a birth pool you can get in the bath or even try running a hot shower over your lower back.

11. Get a TENS machine

A TENS machine is a sure fire way of boosting your endorphins. The sticky pads which go on your back, release electrical pulses and this triggers your brain to release more endorphins which are your pain reliving hormone. A word of warning to birth partners – a TENS machine can be turned up very high during labour so avoid touching the sticky pads, you may get a bit of a shock!

 

The more you know, the more confident you feel. Butterbean is here to bust myths, reframe fears, and help you understand your options. For more advice on managing pain, harnessing the painkilling power of your hormones, reducing stress during labour and staying in control, be sure to head to the butterbean platform.

Other blogs which may help include ‘A Whistle Stop Tour of Birth’ and ‘8 Signs That Labour is Imminent’.