Earlier this year, Lamaze released the revised, 3rd edition version of our book, Giving Birth with Confidence. (You can check out our review here.) Since it's release, we've been sharing little snapshots of what's inside -- view all the posts in this series. This month, we're talking labor pain management and finding comfort. Here's what the book has to say:
About Pain's Purpose
"Like other pain in your life, childbirth pain protects you. If you accidentally touch a hot stove, the pain makes you instinctively pull your hand away to prevent a burn. If you develop a blister on your foot, the pain makes you change the way you walk to protect your foot from further injury. If you're in labor, the pain of a contraction makes you move, rub, or moan in an effort to get comfortable. Your actions ease the pain a bit and help you get from one contraction to the next -- even stronger -- contraction."
On Reducing Pain & Increasing Comfort
"Research has revealed many specific mental and physical factors that reduce pain perception, such as: relaxation, movement, smell, temperature change, and distraction. Pain messages travel to the brain on thinner nerves, and sensory messages on thicker nerves. Thicker nerves transmit information faster, so if a pain message and a sensory message are sent at the same time, the brain gets the sensory message first. That's why rubbing an ache (which sends a sensory message) eases the pain."
The book goes on to include in-depth information about each of the different labor pain relieving techniques, including:
- Everyday relaxation activities
- Conscious breathing
- Tension release
- Heat and cold
- Guided imagery
- Pacing & finding your "rhythm"
Realistic Bottom Line
"No matter how your labor unfolds or what comfort measures you use, you definitely won't feel like you're drifting off to sleep in a comfortable bed after a relaxing bath. (That comes later, with your baby in your arms!) But labor isn't meant to be hopeless, endless, lonely agony either.
It's realistic to expect that labor will be hard work, and it's also realistic to expect that you can do this work."
If you don't already own a copy, I encourage you to pick up Giving Birth with Confidence and include it in your "must do before birth" list. You'll find lots of useful and practical tips to help you through labor and birth, and ways to make sure you can prepare to have the most healthy, safe, and joyful birth experience.