Looking for natural remedies for labor pain? You are a Warrior!
After I shared my natural birth story, I’ve been getting a lot of questions on natural remedies for labor pain. I am going to dive a little deeper into what your choices are, and summarize a few key takeaways so you can make your most informed decision. Your birth experience is your own! However, your body is capable of almost anything!
You always have options for natural remedies for labor pain
When most women are pregnant, they automatically assume an epidural is needed. I bet you would be surprised to know that there are side effects to an epidural as well. Those side effects pushed me to research what my options are for natural remedies for my labor pain. As I mentioned in my original post, a few side effects are:
- Leads to more medical interventions like pitocin. An epidural prevents your body from feeling your contractions, and blocks natural hormones during labor. There are some studies that show your labor stops progressing, and many women need pitocin (a synthetic hormone) to speed their labor back up.
- Longer labor. Because an epidural may prevent you from progressing through labor and the need for other interventions, this also extends the overall laboring process.
- May increase your chance of a c-section. As mentioned, many women who receive epidurals also need pitocin. Pitocin stimulates intense and much more frequent contractions which may put your baby in distress.
- Unable to push during labor, due to the inability to feel contractions. This could lengthen your labor, or potentially lead to a c-section. This was a big reason I looked into natural remedies. Feeling labor pain is key to knowing when to push.
- Potential pelvic floor problems following labor.
- Increased risk for vaginal tears.
- Nerve damage near the injection site.
- Severe headache lasting a few days.
- Potential side effects in baby such as fetal heart rate, sepsis, and reduced immune systems.
- Blocking mothers natural production of oxytocin which helps with breastfeeding. (Check out the benefits of breastfeeding.)
There are certainly times when an epidural is necessary. For example, if you are laboring for an extended period of time an epidural can relax the uterus. When you relax, you save your energy for when you need to push. However, if we take a step back an epidural isn’t actually necessary for pain relief. There are natural remedies for labor pain.
The benefits of natural remedies for labor pain
If you haven’t read my natural birth story, now is the time! I had an amazing experience, because I trusted my body to do it’s job. If you numb your body to the pain, your body doesn’t actually know it’s in labor. That in itself may stop it from doing it’s job! I wanted to highlight a few key things that proves natural remedies for my labor pain worked like a charm.
- Because I felt every contraction, my body was able to open quicker and progress at it should. (I checked into the hospital at 4am, and delivered my son at 9am.)
- Being able to tune into my natural hormones (oxytocin), I trusted my body to do everything it needed to do (dilate, labor, nurse, etc.). I nursed my son within minutes after giving birth.
- Feeling my own contractions helped me push for only 10 minutes, at my own pace. The doctors just sat back and watched.
- I was able to get up and move around and be in different positions that helped with natural pain management during my labor (showering, walking, squatting, etc.)
What are my options for natural remedies for labor pain?
The biggest takeaway for you if you are considering natural remedies for labor pain, is your body was literally built to handle this. Women have been doing this since the beginning of time. Think of all the women before you that had multiple babies in their home with only natural remedies to labor their babies! Here are a few ways I handled labor pain with natural remedies:
- Mind over matter. This is the first and most important. Trust your body, and trust yourself. The right mindset in the beginning sets you up for success. Don’t think about what can go wrong. Have positive thoughts from the start.
- Relax! This was the best technique I used. If you are tense, you will not dilate. You need to breath. Relax your face, mouth, hands, fingers, toes. During each contraction you need to let go, and let your body open up. This helped me dilate fully within hours.
- Movement. Get up and move! Walking in between and during contractions helped take my mind off the pain, and let me lean and squat during each contraction. I used this method during the earlier stages of labor.
- Shower. As my labor progressed and my contractions were getting more intense, my nurse suggested I take a shower. I stood there for 20 minutes and let the hot water pound on my lower back. This was amazing!
- Peanut Ball. As I entered transitional labor my nurse suggested I lean over a peanut shaped ball to relieve my back labor. My husband massaged my back during each contraction. I was in this position (and side laying the longest).
- Side Laying. Towards the last hour, I moved the peanut in between my legs and laid on my side. My husband was still massaging my back. This was the shortest most intense stage for me. Out of all my natural remedies, being able to move in multiple positions was key to managing labor pain.
- Endorphins. Yes endorphins! They are real, and they work! When I began pushing, I was the most nervous for this pain. Let me tell you something incredible, I felt nothing! No pain. Just complete relief. After my son was born, I have never felt better. I got up and walked around. I needed no ibuprofen or any other pain medication after my labor. My body did what it needed, and helped me recover immediately.
You, are a Warrior Mama!
I have talked to many women that had their own unique experiences during labor. Every labor is beautiful and special no matter what you choose! A trend I see with Mamas during their labor choice, is their mindset. What is your mentality going into this process? If you focus on potential positive experiences, you are surrounding yourself with that energy. You are preparing yourself for the experience you want. Trust your body, plain and simple!
What was your labor experience? Did you use any natural remedies for labor pain? Check out this article I wrote for more details.