Before Baby: Six Ways to Manage Labor Pains

There’s a reason they call it labor – childbirth is painful. But strategies to manage pain can ease discomfort. One question many first-time parents ponder is whether or not to use pain medication or to go through natural labor. Regardless of which option you choose, here are six ways to better manage pain during labor:

  • Relaxation and breathing techniques. These can help you stay focused between and during contractions.
  • Music and soundscapes. Music is a great tool to help you to relax and concentrate. Our Choose Memorial Spotify “Before Baby: Delivery” playlist provides specific tunes designed to keep you upbeat during labor.
  • Changing positions. Moving around can help you manage pain at different points during labor. You choose to lie down, sit, squat, stand, use a birthing ball or utilize other tools.
  • Support team. Your partner, a doula or a member of your care team can help you meet your goal of childbirth without medication. A partner can help you with changing positions, massage and meeting your needs throughout labor.
  • This is the most common pain management tool for women in labor. Epidural anesthesia is an injection of numbing medicine in between the spinal nerves in the lower back. You will feel little to no pain, but you will feel pressure as your labor progresses.
  • IV pain medication. Another option for pain management is an IV pain medicine such as Stadol or Demerol. These medications can reduce the pain, but may make you feel nauseated or drowsy.

“Choosing a pain management method during labor is a personal decision, and it’s important to weigh all of the pros and cons of the various options,” said Jillian Henry, MD, with Memorial Physician Services, Women’s Healthcare. “Speak with your obstetrician about pain management options ahead of your labor so that you can make the decision that is best for you.”

Need to Attend Birthing Classes?

Find out more about prenatal classes offered at Memorial Health System hospital affiliates: