Inside: In search of painless, normal delivery tips? Here are the top 5 things I did to achieve an unmedicated, relatively pain-free birth. I actually look forward to my next labor and delivery (yes, I said, look forward to!).
Pain is a funny thing. No one really knows why some women can labor and deliver without feeling much of anything at all – contractions, pushing, nothing!
These women claim to give birth naturally without any pain at all. As in, all of a sudden, they realize the baby is coming, push once, and BAM, they’re done.
Why wasn’t I given that gift?!
For the majority of us, having a painless, normal delivery doesn’t come naturally, and we need techniques to learn how to manage labor pain effectively without medication.
In this post, I will try my best to teach you how to give birth naturally without pain. Or, as little pain as possible.
These are the very tips that helped wimpy old me to have a peaceful and empowering natural birth.
Let’s jump right in!
It IS Possible to Have a Relatively Painless, Normal Delivery (even if you’re a wuss)
So you’re scared of the pain of childbirth like I was? You’re not alone!
The more I learned about childbirth and talked with other moms, the more I didn’t want to give birth.
When I first found out I was pregnant, I felt indifferent about birth. Like, eh. I’ll make it… right?
Then, the fears came. Will I tear? How bad is the pain? What does it feel like to give birth? Can I even do this?
After learning more and immersing myself in all things natural labor and birth, I felt ready. I looked forward to taking my best shot at natural childbirth.
And guess what? I did it!
I had an amazing, unmedicated, normal delivery. Better yet, I am excited to do it again! (Yes, really.)
But let me be clear: the pain? It was still there…but I learned how to dim the pain, not focus on it, not feel is as much as I normally would.
I wouldn’t necessarily call it “painless.” But yes, I look forward to giving birth again.
So make of that statement what you will. I just want to be clear that I wasn’t one of those women who never felt her contractions and for whom pushing was a breeze.
It was still labor.
It was still work to apply some of these natural pain management techniques during labor.
Here is everything I did to achieve a relatively painless, normal delivery I loved.
5 Tips for a (Relatively) Painless, Normal Delivery
1. Practice relaxation techniques throughout your pregnancy.
The Birth It Up Course (the only course that I recommend taking) goes into the science behind relaxing during contractions. In particular, relaxing your jaw.
(Hint: the course explains that sciencey stuff in detail. You can check it out HERE.)
Wait, hold up a minute. Did I just say RELAX during contractions? Is that even possible?
One word. Breathe.
I know, I know, people joke about breathing during labor, but it really is critical.
The way you breathe during contractions can make or break your birthing experience.
Slow, long, steady breaths are crucial to a positive birthing experience.
According to this article by Evidence Based Birth, researchers have found two reasons that focused breathing works for pain relief:
Focused breathing distracts you from focusing on the pain you’re going through. It gives you something positive to focus on.
Focused breathing can feel empowering because it is something that you actually have control over during labor.
Breathing also releases endorphins: natural pain relief from within.
Here is one exercise you can practice with your partner:
First, sit down with your birthing partner. Practice slow focused breathing and have your partner count your breaths. This will be your/your partner’s guide during labor of what your typical slow breathing pattern is.
Next, get a cup of ice cubes. You’ll also need a timer handy.
You are going to practice your relaxation techniques during controlled pain.
Here’s the gist of what you’ll be doing: hold the ice cube in one hand. Set the timer for 60 seconds and squeeze the ice cube as hard as you can for the full time. (this is like a contraction)
While still holding the ice cube, rest for 1.5 minutes before your next contraction comes. Set the timer again for 60 seconds and squeeze the ice cube.
Do this for a few “ice cube contractions.”
This is the exercise broken down for you:
- Hold ice cube for 30 seconds (early labor)
- Squeeze ice cube for 45 seconds (first contraction)
- Hold ice cube for 1 minute (rest)
- Squeeze ice cube for 60 seconds (longer contraction)
- Hold ice cube for 45 seconds (rest)
- Squeeze ice cube for 70 seconds (pushing time)
No cheating! Replace your ice cube as often as you need to maintain size and coldness.
No switching hands either!
During this exercise, practice your focused breathing. Remember your typical breathing pattern that you noted in the first step.
You can practice swaying while leaning on your partner, rolling hips on a birthing ball, side lying with pressure being applied to your back, bouncing on a birthing ball and so on.
Utilize positive affirmations and practice speaking them over yourself or having your partner say them to you.
Then, congratulations! You’re all done.
You Might Also Like: 29 Things Women Wish They’d Known About Labor
2. Take an empowering birthing class.
The best way to truly prepare for birth is to take a birthing class. Reading online will help but there is nothing quite like a full-out birth class to get your mind ready.
Sign up for the Birth It Up Course – gain the confidence you need for your natural birth in under 3 hours in the privacy of your home.
Liesel Teen (Mommy Labor Nurse.com, creator of Birth It Up) is a labor and delivery nurse and mom who is passionate about helping other moms through childbirth.
This online birth course is affordably priced at $79 because she wants to provide education to as many women as possible, which I love! (For the record, the Mama Natural Course is over $225- YIKES)
We felt more at ease about labor after attending a local birthing class BUT I felt like I could birth like a rock star after going through The Birth It Up Course.
This course took me from a scared first time mom to a natural birthing goddess… or, um, something like that.
3. Join a community of natural-minded mamas.
Reading positive birth stories changed my view of birth.
Watching natural birth videos is what encouraged me to commit 100% to my own natural birth.
And it all started with a Facebook group!
In this group, you can read the amazing birth stories of other women, ask any pregnancy/postpartum related questions and find a sisterhood of natural mamas.
Another group that I highly recommend is the Birth It Up support group. Access to the invite-only Facebook group is included with the Birth It Up course.
In the private Birth It Up group, you will:
- be able to read many stories of positive birth experiences
- get advice directly from Liesel Teen, a labor and delivery nurse and the creator of Birth It Up
- ask any questions you may have about birth/pregnancy/postpartum.find a community of women who are trying to do the same thing as you!
Feeling supported and knowing that you’re not alone is so vital to feeling confident that a painless, normal delivery is possible!
4. During labor, focus on the breaks between contractions (not the contractions themselves).
We have already talked about relaxation during contractions. Now, let’s talk about resting in between contractions.
It is vital to rest as much as possible throughout labor!
During labor, you MUST intentionally enjoy every rest in between contractions.
Let’s think about labor like a cherry.
If when you thought of cherries, you only thought about the pit… well, then no one would eat cherries.
Who would want to bother eating cherries when really all that you can eat is the tiny bit of cherry flesh wrapped around a big pit!
But, when you think about how delicious and sweet the cherry flesh really is, you quickly forget about the pit.
Your mind is a powerful tool, y’all: use it.
So, with labor. If all you think about is the pain of each contraction, you will completely miss out on the tiny bits of sweet rest.
But, if you focus on how wonderful those little moments of rest are, you will have more stamina to get through contractions.
Tip from My Actual Labor: After each contraction, I would sigh, and then say aloud, “Whew, I’m done with that one. Now, I can rest.” Then, I rested, and did my best not to think about the next contraction. Take deep breaths. Close your eyes. Enjoy the moment.
5. Get primal. Yes, I said “primal”.
Allow instinct to take over your body.
You were made to do this! Trust in the process.
Lean into the pain, it is bringing your baby closer to you.
Try to eliminate distractions around you. So, dim the lights and turn off the TV.
Play soft music if you like it, and limit visitors.
Go somewhere you feel safe and secure. Allow your body to move as it needs to at the moment.
Welcome the sounds that you naturally want to make. Moaning, groaning and the like help release pain and can motivate you to press on.
This is yours and your baby’s day. You make the rules. And you set the tone.
Want a Normal Delivery? A Natural Childbirth Course Is Essential
Achieving a natural birth- totally doable! A completely painless delivery? Questionable but possible.
The one thing I want to emphasize one last time is that if you truly want as close to a painless delivery as possible, with no medication, please, please please, take a natural birth course.
We aren’t taught how to birth anymore. Birth is private and tucked away in hospitals, and just not talked about enough.
If you want to learn how to have a normal delivery, you are going to need some help.
I hope you click off of this page knowing one thing: your body was made to do this. You can do it!
Kenzie lives with her husband and daughter in beautiful Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She’s wrestled with infertility, survived a miscarriage, and is overjoyed to finally be a mama to her sweet baby girl she thought she’d never have. She especially loves helping moms who have had miscarriages find hope after loss.