Labor Pain or Not?

Arianna Sofía
Creative Commons License photo credit: gabofr

The woman who’s pregnant for the first time has all sorts of baggage and preconceived notions when it comes to what labor is going to be like. The fact of the matter is, however, she’s probably going to be wrong on a great many things. This is, largely, because every pregnancy is a little different; what one woman experiences, you may not.

Take, for example, labor. For some women, it’s excruciatingly painful. That’s why we have epidurals and all of these other labor pain medications, after all. However for other women, such as Hillary Duff, it turns out labor pain is no big deal. The singer and actress recently told Ellen DeGeneres that the birth of her son Luca was relatively painless, quick, and easy.

You really never know how it’s going to be until you get there.

Know your options

Part of pregnancy is being prepared for labor, so it’s important that you know what your options are going to be for pain relief. Essentially, there are several ways you can relieve pain:

  • Natural pain management. These are the methods you’ll use in early labor, and that some women will use throughout labor and delivery. It includes things like relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, changes of position, and more. Playing music and even taking a shower may help, as well.
  • Nontraditional pain management. Some women rely on more alternative pain management techniques. This might include hypnosis, acupuncture, reflexology, and others.
  • Medications. Narcotics may sometimes be given during labor to alter your perception of pain.
  • Epidural and spinal blocks. These methods are used to block pain to your lower body. An epidural may be used throughout the entire labor process, while a spinal block is likely to be used only just before delivery.

Each pain management option has its pros and cons. Do your research so that you know, for example, how narcotic pain medications might affect your baby, and affect your experience of the birthing process. Know what you want during labor, and write it all down in your birth plan. Make sure to discuss that plan thoroughly with your doctor, as well.

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