Lamaze breathing works on two levels in the labouring mother. Cognitive and physiological level. Cognitively, the attention required to do Lamaze breathing correctly steers away the labouring mother’s attention away from the pain her body is experiencing and instead to her breath. Physiologically, as the breathing deepens with conscious control, this brings more oxygen to the muscles, helping the contractions to become more powerful and efficient.
10 Ways to relieve labor pain are:
- Find a soothing environment: The birth setting must feel safe for the mother. It should have space to walk and bathe. Access to appropriate medical care is crucial.
- Choose your team carefully: Knowledgeable caring doulas, doctors, nurses, partners and loved ones create a supportive birth team.
- Learn about labour: Find about everything you can about labour from books, magazines, Web sites, videos, doctors and discussions with the health care provider. Familiarize yourself with the procedures and customs at the hospital. More knowledge means fewer surprises.
- Express your fears: Speak to the doctor, the doula, family and friends about pain and labour. Voicing concerns can bring relief as well as practical solutions to your concerns.
- Practice rhythmic breathing: Breathe fully in a slow rhythm during contractions. Also, try taking quick breaths.
- Use imagery and visualisation: Focussing on something that makes you happy engages your senses and decreases your awareness of pain. Listening to music helps too.
- Take a warm shower or bath: A warm shower is soothing, especially if you can sit on a stool and direct a handheld showerhead onto your abdomen or back. A warm shower can relax you and it may even speed up labour.
- Keep moving: Move around as much as you can. Walk, lean, sway, rock and squat. Some positions can be more comfortable than others.
- Seek relief with warm or cool compress: A warm pack placed on the lower abdomen, lower back or shoulders can bring relief from the pain. Cool cloths relieve a sweaty face, chest or neck.
Indulge in gentle touch or massage: Have your partner or a loved one massage you with light or firm strokes using oil or lotion.