For every woman, giving birth is a significant event, and one in which she will experience contractions and pain. These labour pains are exhausting and very intensive and challenging, but they also exist for a reason.
- Labour pains make women move around. If you are giving birth and can move around, she automatically assumes a position which eases the pain. This also reduces the pressure on the baby’s head and thus the stress on the child. In addition, the expectant mother thus protects herself from injuries.
- The pain causes your body to release hormones. This gives the woman particular strength and energy for the birth. Some hormones also help the baby to better cope with the effort involved. They help the child immediately after birth, as it adapts to life outside the mother.
- Through the pain endorphins are produces, which are hormones that ease the pain. This protects you and the baby from severe pain. At no other time in her life will a woman have so many endorphins in her body.
Contractions and labour pains are perceived very differently in terms of their intensity. It is important that they do not gain the upper hand during the birth, and adversely affect the labour and birth experience. So as to promptly interrupt a potential circle of fear, tension and pain which may build up, there are pain relief options available.
As a first step, good preparation in advance of the birth can help you learn which methods can help during the birth, and how best to deal with the pain.
- Labour is faster if you move around, and can stand or sit up.
- Conscious breathing during labour helps you and you child to get enough oxygen. It provides both power and energy, and means that the woman can better bear the pain.
- In the pauses between contractions, it is important to relax. Massaging, touch and a warm bath can help.
- Having a trusted person with you can increase the your feeling of extra support during labour.
If these milder measures do not provide sufficient pain relief, the second step involves the use of painkillers and antispasmodic medications to ease the feeling of pain. If stronger pain relief is necessary, then the most effective form of obstetrical pain therapy available is the epidural.
With regard to obstetrical pain relief, the well-being of the expectant mother and child is always the priority. Labour is painful, and the pain does occur for a reason. However, an overly painful or traumatic birth experience is to be avoided. For this, there are effective medications available that have their place in modern obstetrics, and which can be used in a constructive way.