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The Ultimate List of Labor Coping Techniques You NEED to Know

Whether you are planning for a natural birth and going all the way without pain medication or laboring until you get admitted to the hospital, you are going to need to prepare for contractions.

These are tested, tried and true labor coping techniques that you can use to manage, accept and relax through contractions.

Midwife Penny Simpkin, who is a leader in the natural and home birth movement, advises moms that remember the three R’s of labor coping: Rhythm, Ritual and Relaxation.

When you are picking labor coping techniques you want to find things you can do regularly, that can help you flow like the waves of the ocean, that can move you to labor the way a beat moves you to music, this is rhythm.

The best pain management tools will help you release your fear, feel your power, and help you move deeper into labor, where the worlds meet and you reach through and bring your child to the earth. This is ritual.

The last requirement is that our labor coping toolbox should help you surrender, find peace and open like a flower dancing and swaying in the wind. Sure you may vocalize, be loud and roar during transition, but oh, there is also peace and a sense of rightness. Or you may be on the opposite end of the spectrum and be nearly silent by the time pushing begins as every molecule in your  body is focused only on one thing, bringing your baby to you.

These are our top 10 labor coping techniques that you NEED to know.

10. Deep breathing and meditation. If you are feeling out of control or flighty let your mind visualize a delicate flower gracefully opening or your roots taking hold. One mother told me that when she felt overwhelmed she would squat down low, and remind herself  as she squatted, her roots would take hold again.

9. Clary sage essential oil diluted to 1 percent in almond/olive/ coconut oil massaged on your back or abdomen.  Other essential oils used in birth are lemon, lavender or peppermint. Please do not diffuse but smell the cap of the bottle as your needs or likes may change drastically during labor. A cap can be removed, a diffused oil cannot. 

8. Counter pressure from your partner or doula. If you have back labor, drop to all fours, and have your partner literally sit on your back during contractions. This will save your support team from wearing out, so they can continue to support you post birth, and will get you the best counter pressure. If you prefer to remain upright, try having someone squeeze your hips. 

7.Distraction: pop a really good chocolate in your mouth every time a contraction begins and focus solely on it for the 60 seconds of the wave. 

6. Have someone tell you where baby is. If you are far enough a long, you may even be able to reach and feel baby’s head. You will know you are close now. 

5. Change makes change. If you feel like you can’t do this anymore, then don’t. Try something new. Try a new position. Go for a walk with you hands behind your head, leaning on your partner during contractions, eat a small snack or honey stick, go outside, turn on music.  Make a change and see how it affects your labor. 

4. Let your endorphins take over. Fear and adrenaline are the hormones that cause the pain and block blood flow so do things that are the opposite and release the good bonding hormones. Anything that makes you feel really good is going to help. Have your partner tell you something that makes you laugh. Reminisce about your babymoon.   Have your partner look you in your eyes with love and say ‘I love you’ over and over and let him kiss your neck and shoulders. Enjoy the closeness and intimacy.  

3. Eye contact. Have your partner or doula hold your hand, look you in the eye, smile and breathe with you. Nothing is more empowering than when you see someone’s confidence in you as you labor. 

2. Low and deep tonal sounds. Moan, singing, or hod out an ‘ooohhmmmm’ sound. Toning/sounding are so powerful in labor. They bring in the breath, sound and vibration to focus on. Plus it elongates exhales which naturally ignite the parasympathetic nervous system, triggering an open spout of oxytocin in the body.

1. Warm water. Get in the shower or a birthing tub. This is the most amazing feeling in the world. It seems to simple to be true but this is our favorite game changer.

Holding your fresh little baby in your arms is the most amazing feeling in the world.  Our best advice to you? 

Let the oxy flow and take over.  It is after all the love hormone that create life and birth. 

You are more powerful than you know mama. You’ve got this!