What can I do myself to manage the pain during labour? 

Midwife Tracey Owen explains what mothers can do to manage pain during labour.

Find out more about how to manage pain during labour

Transcript of What can I do myself to manage the pain during labour?

What can I do to manage the pain during labour?


Tracey: There’s lots of things you can do to prepare for labour in the antenatal period, antenatal classes of course, books and lots of videos as well that you can get, listening to your friends – but try and stay away from some of the horror stories.


Your community midwife is best-placed to help you in the antenatal period. You should have built up a rapport with her and you can discuss labour with her at any time. Around 34, 36 weeks is when you should be thinking about writing your birth plan. Labour pain is different to any other pain you’ve had in your lifetime.  It’s not breaking your leg, it’s not like a constant pain, it comes and goes, it gives you a breather so make the most of the space in between.


Relaxation is important in labour because adrenaline kicks in. Adrenaline unfortunately dampens down oxitocin which makes your contractions happen, so the more relaxed you are, the less adrenaline, the more oxitocin, the better the contractions.  Once you’re trying to relax, being upright’s a really good starter because the head pushes down on the cervix, releases oxitocin and makes your contractions stronger and more effective. And by doing that really what you want to be doing is standing up, sitting on a birthing ball, dim lights, quiet music, soak in the bath, talk to your partner, leaning against your partner, leaning against the wall. There are lots of different thing you can do to relax.


Breathing’s something we all do but sometimes you have to focus a little bit more when you’re in labour. Big deep breath in, filling your lungs all the way down to the bottoms of your rib cage, letting your chest expand, holding it for a couple of seconds and then blowing it away, and imagine blowing the pain away as it goes.


Labour’s a long and hard journey. At the end of the day you’re going to have something really positive at the end.  I think the thing you’ve got to remember is that as a woman you’re built to have babies.



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