Join   Sign In  

10 Ways for Dealing with Labor Pain


Everyone knows that labor and delivery is probably going to hurt—but what can you do when you’re in labor and the pain is finally real? Here are 10 strategies to help you cope with the pain.

  1. Exercise During Pregnancy
  2. a pregnant woman doing pilates

    Making certain that your body remains strong and flexible while pregnant can help you during delivery. A strong core will help you to push, and flexibility will allow you to position yourself optimally. We know it’s tempting to become a couch potato during the last stages of pregnancy, but being in decent shape really can help your delivery.

    Check with your doctor before continuing or starting any exercise program while pregnant, just to be safe.

  3. The Bradley Method
  4. a pregnant woman in hospital being assisted to her bed

    The Bradley Method is also known as the Husband-Coached method. Bradley teaches that giving birth is a normal and natural event that should require no intervention. A 12-week course will teach you to tune in to your body and learn relaxation techniques to cope with pain. This method relies on your partner to be an active participant in the process.

  5. Lamaze
  6. a pregnant woman in hospital breathing hard

    Lamaze is the most popular birthing class in the U.S. In a Lamaze class you will learn relaxation, massage, and breathing techniques that can help you through the pain of contractions and birth. Lamaze teaches that concentrating on special breathing patterns can pull your attention away from pain. Check out classes near you at

  7. HypnoBirthing
  8. a pregnant woman in hospital

    Also known as the Mongan Method, HypnoBirthing teaches moms to rely on their bodies by fully understanding how and why muscles contract during birth. This method isn’t about being a trance during birth—they describe it more like “daydreaming” while laboring. You can look up classes in your area here.

  9. Bathing or Showering
  10. a pregnant woman having a shower

    Warm water is a natural muscle relaxant, so it makes sense that many women report feeling a decreased perception of labor pain once getting into a warm tub or shower. Many facilities have birthing tubs these days, so not only soaking but having a water birth might be a possibility. But even a shower may do wonders. Check with your doctor or midwife about what your hospital has to offer.

  11. Acupressure
  12. a woman receiving acupressure on her legs

    It’s like acupuncture, but without the needles! This technique works by applying steady pressure on certain spots of your body to relieve pain and nausea. Your coach can use their hands, a tennis ball, a paint roller, or special tools made for triggering pressure points. Here's one resource for pain-relieving pressure points for labor.

  13. Massage
  14. a pregnant woman receiving a massage

    Who doesn’t like a good massage? While some women may find they don’t want to be touched during labor, many others respond positively to massage. When you’re experiencing contractions, have your partner try massaging different parts of your body to see what helps you. A back, neck, or foot massage might be just the thing to help you through the pain. Here are some great massage techniques to try.

  15. Meditation
  16. a pregnant woman meditating

    Relax, accept what is happening to your body, and focus on an inspirational object—these are meditative techniques to help you deal with the pain of labor. Some meditation instructors recommend bringing a photo of a loved one, or an image of a vacation or tropical paradise. Focusing on something during contractions can help you think less about what is going on inside of you. You can also simply focus on your breath. Check out the wonderful book Mindful Birthing for support with this.

  17. Hire a Doula
  18. a woman receiving a massage

    Sometimes the best thing you can do is hand control over to a trusted professional. A doula’s services include massage, emotional and physical support, and birth coaching. Doulas are knowledgeable in many techniques and positions that will make your labor easier. To find a doula near you, check Dona International.

  19. Medication
  20. a mom holding her newborn baby in hospital

    There is no shame in requesting pain medication. Analgesic medications can be given through an IV or shot. There is a potential for nausea and drowsiness, and small amounts of the drug can also be passed on to the baby, so speak with your doctor or nurse to discuss any potential side effects. Anesthetic medications can be given through an epidural. This is the ultimate in pain control, with most moms reporting that numbness from the waist down offers almost complete relief--again, with potential side-effects for you and baby.

    Whatever you choose, the goal is a safe delivery. Find what works for you, and don’t be afraid to try any, or every, pain control technique. Happy birthing!


Popular in Pregnancy and Baby Names