Whether you are intending a natural birth or are planning on having an epidural, knowing some ways to cope with the intensity of labor may prove to be useful. Use of heat and cold, changing positions, hydrotherapy in the shower or labor tub, massage and acupressure can be very supportive in labor. As a labor and birth doula, I can help guide you through this time.
You don’t have to learn all the techniques, you get to stay in your body and do the work of labor. Your partner doesn’t have to know all the labor comfort methods, he or she gets to be supportive of you in a more relaxed space and enjoy the experience of becoming a parent.
Envisioning your baby’s birth may bring up questions about what labor will be like and how you will deal with it. Vicki Elson, a beloved local childbirth educator wrote a one-page guide, "What do you really need to know about having a baby." I love her warm, honest style and encourage you to explore her Birth-Media website for other gems of practical advice and wisdom.
There are many resources about labor and birth. A condensed version, “Comfort in Labor” by Penny Simkin presents a quick, easy way to become familiar with the basics. It is an excellent read for partners and other birth team members. After reading this pamphlet, one father-to-be stated with relief, “Now I know what I’m supposed to do.”
I have seen acupressure be especially effective in labor. Certain acupressure points invariably become part of the rhythm of labor. Debra Betts, acupuncturist and registered nurse from New Zealand, developed a very useful pamphlet: “Natural pain relief techniques for childbirth using acupressure” She states, “The acupressure points outlined in this booklet are easy to use, promote natural labour and encourage close partner involvement.” I recommend perusing this pamphlet to become familiar with the various acupressure points prior to labor.