5 Tips to Help You Cope with Labor Pain
Five Ways to Help You Cope with Labor Pain
August 9, 2022

Five Ways to Help You Cope with Labor Pain

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Five Ways to Help You Cope with Labor Pain.
Five Ways to Help You Cope with Labor Pain

I’ve heard a lot from folks who are afraid of pain during labor. It can be soothing for them to learn that labor pain isn’t constant—discomfort rises during a contraction and then falls away as it passes. Still, the thought of being in any type of prolonged pain can be scary.

So, the question is: how do you get through those moments of pain?

Our pregnancy and postpartum program breaks down all of the techniques you can use to relieve discomfort during labor, but I want to share a few of my favorite—and lesser known—techniques with you. They’re also strategies you can use for relaxation at any time, not just during labor. (In fact, if you’re feeling overwhelmed just thinking about labor, you can even start using them now.)

Body sock

A body sock looks a little weird, I admit. It’s like a stretchy sleeping bag with arms. You’ll get over the weirdness, though, when you feel its soothing counterpressure, like an all-encompassing hug. Body socks are often used as a sensory tool for kids with autism and ADHD, but they’re great for anyone in search of a grounding activity. Childbirth is a perfect use-case: it’s an overwhelming experience that comes with an onslaught of physical sensations.

Using the body sock is simple (and our pregnancy and postpartum program has a video of yours truly demonstrating). During contractions, try wearing it while rocking on all fours. In between contractions, you can even stretch or walk around in the body sock.

Gua sha

This ancient Chinese practice is typically used to improve circulation—using a rounded massage tool that is stroked along your skin—but during labor it can be a great way to distract yourself from pain. Start out with a gentle downward stroke, then explore an upward stroke. Experiment with different levels of pressure, too. You can do it yourself or have a partner or support person give it a try. The key is to find what feels most soothing to you.

Sensory brush

A sensory brush is a plastic tool with soft, tightly-packed bristles. It’s another great distraction technique during labor. Firmly brush it along bare skin—your hand, your shoulder or wherever it feels most soothing.

Acupressure slippers

These shoes come with a series of smooth bumps on the footbed that stimulate the soles of your feet so that every step feels like a gentle massage. During early labor, try wearing them while walking around your home, the birthing center or the hospital. It’s a way to use gravity to release tension and—a bonus—all that walking helps to move labor along.

Peanut ball

The peanut ball—an exercise ball shaped just like it sounds—is perfect for setting you up into an ideal labor position. Try lying on your side with the ball between your legs. This opens up your pelvis, making it easier to push, and making for less discomfort.

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