It's no secret that childbirth is probably (and thankfully!) the most intense pain that a woman will go through in her life.

Many women choose to experience the natural process in all of its natural glory, without the use of medication.

Others choose to use natural pain relief methods in the early stages of labour before they move on to medication such as an epidural.

Relaxation techniques

A lot of the pain during labour is brought about by tension in certain areas of the body. Relaxation can alleviate this physical stress, as well as leaving you energy for when you need it the most – the birth.

There are two types of relaxation techniques which many women find helpful.

The first is called progressive relaxation – and this works by tensing and then relaxing groups of muscles at one time during labour. As well as the physical benefits, it is a great distraction from the pain.

Touch relaxation is where your partner or labour coach massages or touches certain parts of your body at a time.

Both of these methods should be practiced before so that you can benefit the most during the labour.

Guided imagery

“All methods of childbirth preparation embrace the notion that the mind is linked to the physiologic processes and pain messages. Therefore, guiding the [patient's] thoughts to pleasant experiences can be an effective pain and coping intervention,” said Amanda Lowe, childbirth expert.

Taking your mind to a comfortable setting, imagining the air, the smell and the sounds, allows your body to relax and forget some of the pain that you are experiencing.

It is a good idea to have your relaxation place in mind before you go into labour.

Water therapy

Many women find that taking a shower or bath can help them relax and take away a portion of the labour pain.

Most hospitals have baths and showers that women can take advantage of, but its important to remember to keep the heat at around body temperature to prevent a fever in the mother and the newborn baby.

Posted by Freya Harper