Natural Childbirth

At Mercy you have many options that allow you to personalize your childbirth experience. This includes preferences about if and when you may want to use medication to manage pain.

If you would rather not have pain medication, often called a "natural" delivery, consider these options to help control the discomfort of childbirth without drugs:

  • Continuous labor support. Having a support person with you from early labor until after delivery has proven helpful.
  • Distraction. During early labor, you can walk, play cards, watch television, read – any activity that you can safely do can help take your mind off of your contractions.
  • Massage. Massaging the shoulders and lower back during contractions may ease pain. During contractions, deeply massaging the back muscles may help relieve pain. This is called counter pressure. Let your labor coach know exactly where and how hard to massage.
  • Imagery and visualization. Use your imagination to reduce your pain. Visualize your contractions as waves rolling over you. Picture a place you love to help you relax between contractions. Consider using guided visualization or meditation apps that can keep you focused.
  • Changing positions during labor. Try walking, kneeling or sitting on a big rubber ball (birthing ball). Gentle yoga positions also can be calming.
  • Heat or cold therapy. Some women find it soothing to take a warm shower or use warm or cold packs.     
  • Focused breathing. Breathing in a steady rhythm can take your focus away from pain and calm your mind. Mercy’s childbirth education classes teach focused breathing techniques.
  • Laboring in water. Water immersion can help with pain, stress, and in some cases, a difficult labor.
  • Acupuncture or acupressure. These non-drug therapies can be effective at managing labor pain.
  • Hypnosis. Some women find that hypnosis helps control pain and anxiety during labor.

You and your partner or labor coach can learn more about natural childbirth through Mercy’s childbirth education classes. We’ll do all we can to help you have a natural and rewarding experience.

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