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One Trillion Storys For Kids

Natural Pain relief

PAIN RELIEF TYPE

Relaxation

WHAT HAPPENS

Breathing techniques can help to release the tension in your muscles. Relax your face which will automatically relax your other muscles. To distract you from the contractions and help you to relax through them, focus on a mental image or listen to a special piece of music.

HOW IT WORKS

Relaxing tense muscles encourages the body to produce endorphins, which are natural pain killers.

ADVANTAGES

Safe for mother and baby. You can keep active, even if you are having a vaginal examination or waiting for an epidural or pethidine to take effect, it helps to know how to relax.

DISADVANTAGES

None.

EFFECTIVENESS

Relaxation will help you to cope with pain.

Water

WHAT HAPPENS

Relax in a warm bath. If you have backache take a shower and aim the shower head at the base of your spine. A hot water bottle or towels soaked in warm water placed on your back may help, particularly if you have backache during labour.

HOW IT WORKS

The warmth relaxes the muscles reducing tension and pain and helping your body to produce natural endorphins.

ADVANTAGES

Safe for mother and baby. Suitable for at home or in hospital. Water supports the weight of your baby and you can change positions easily.

DISADVANTAGES

None.

EFFECTIVENESS

This measure will help you cope with pain by making you more relaxed so that the experience of pain is reduced.

Massage & Aromatherapy

WHAT HAPPENS

You will be reliant on your partner to assist. Research suggests that just by visualizing your partners hand massaging you, your body will release oxytocin which helps the contractions to keep coming. Try putting a few drops of Clary sage, jasmine, or rose on a handkerchief to inhale during labour. Some essential oils should not be used during pregnancy, check with an aromatherapist or your caregiver.

HOW IT WORKS

Massage is soothing and comforting, it also relaxes tense muscles.

ADVANTAGES

Safe for mother and baby. Can work well in almost any position. May be used in conjunction with other methods of pain relief.

DISADVANTAGES

You may not feel like being touched when it comes to labour.

EFFECTIVENESS

Massage can be particularly effective with backache during labour.

Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulation (TENS)

WHAT HAPPENS

A TENS machine consists of a small portable handset and sticky electrode pads that you attach to your back.

HOW IT WORKS

With every contraction the machine releases small electrical impulses that block the pain and encourage the body to release endorphins.

ADVANTAGES

Safe for mother and baby. Can be used at home or in hospital. Mother is in complete control of use. Movement is not restricted and it is easily removed if it is not effective.

DISADVANTAGES

Not all maternity units have them or they may be in use when you need them. They cannot be used in a birthing pool for obvious reasons.

EFFECTIVENESS

Reports vary. Some women find TENS irritating or inadequate. Others say that they could not have managed without it. It may be most helpful during early labour.

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