Ways To Reduce Stress During Labor

The toughest time in any woman’s life is when she goes into labor. It can be a scary experience and it is very natural to feel stressed and anxious. The anxiety and stress can lead to the release of stress hormones which can prolong the labor and aggravate the pain. There are many ways to help reduce stress during labor and it is better if you try to keep yourself calm during this time so that your body has enough energy left to care for the new born baby.

Ways to reduce stress during labor

Ways to Reduce Stress During Labor

Try the following nine techniques for a stress-free delivery.

1. Relax Your Muscles

Having tense and stretched muscles does not help during labor. With the techniques of progressive relaxation, you can learn to relax all your muscles and it can be very helpful.

  • To start, choose a comfortable place free of any noise or distractions and is neither hot nor too cold.
  • You can start from your head and work all the way down or start from your feet and go upwards.
  • Make a group of muscles tense for five seconds and during that time breathe in. After that, relax them for ten to fifteen seconds, and exhale. Think that all the stress and tension are getting out of your body.
  • Let that group of muscles stay loose, warm and soft and move to the next group, till you have relaxed all your body muscles.
  • After some time of practicing without distractions, you can start practicing with adding distractions. It is important because the labor and delivery areas are full of distractions.

2. Think Creatively

Try to think about happy memories and places with fond memories. This can help you to relax.

  • Imagine that you are sitting at a beautiful place with a pond or water feature in front of you and you are throwing small pebbles in it. Try and count the ripples.
  • You can also imagine that you are holding your baby and are sitting in a swing at a beautiful park. Try to imagine the warmth of your child in your arms and count the number of times the swing moves.

3. Have a Massage

Among the ways to reduce stress during labor, having a massage holds a very prominent position.

  • Light circular massage of the tummy and gentle massage of shoulders, back, legs and feet are extremely effective.
  • Temple and head massage helps to reduce stress.
  • Massage of lower back with steady and deep pressure is very effective during later stages of labor.

4. Get Water Therapy

Getting into water can work great during labor. A bath helps greatly to ease the pain and soothe the muscles but be careful as it is not advised if your water bag has ruptured. Getting into a shower is also a great idea and water splashes on the skin make the brain less responsive to the painful stimuli. You can have a shower even after the water bag has broken and many women have reported that the pain markedly reduces in intensity while having a shower. A hot water bottle placed under the back is also very comforting while some women get great relief with placing ice packs.

5. Listen to Music

Music is always soothing for the soul and this time is not different. Listening to relaxing music of your choice on your MP3 player can reduce your stress levels. There are a lot of relaxation music tracks available on line and in stores. You can start choosing them before hand and make your own playlist to listen to during labor.

6. Find a Focal Point

One of the ways to reduce stress during labor is to find a focal point and concentrate on it. The focal point can be an external focal point, like any object or the eyes of your partner, or an internal focal point like a peaceful landscape or a memory. If you focus on it during labor, it will help you relax and will speed up contractions. 

  • Concentrate on the focal point and breathe evenly. Whenever you exhale just let your body loose and go limp like a rag doll.
  • You might feel warm and your body may feel heavy.
  • After some time, rouse yourself. Stretch your legs and arms, take a deep breath and exhale.

7. Practice Acupressure

There are certain pressure points in our body which represent internal organs. You can do a bit of research to find out where to put pressure during labor to ease the pain. You can have your partner apply pressure on your pressure points during labor.

8. Try Self-Hypnosis

Self-hypnosis helps reduce pain and make you relax. You can learn the tried and tested technique of self-hypnosis during pregnancy and try it during labor to ease the process.

9. Practice Breathing Techniques

One of the best ways to reduce stress during labor is to practice various breathing techniques like:

  • The best way is to focus on breathing. Rhythmic breathing is very effective in reducing the chances of any complications and will keep you stress free during delivery.
  • In the pushing stage breathing becomes shallow. Try to keep on having long and deep breaths and repeat the word relax with every breath.
  • Counting the number of breaths is also very effective, another good way is to inhale, count to five and then exhale slowly while counting the same.
  • Try to keep the time of breathing in and breathing out similar and have short pause between them.
  • While experiencing a strong contraction, it is better to breathe in via the nose and breathe out through the mouth.
  • It is critical to have proper oxygen supply to the body during labor and holding your breath at any time can be dangerous.
  • The best strategy is to practice all these breathing techniques during pregnancy so your body can adapt them as a natural way of breathing and you don’t have to think about breathing during labor.
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