Understanding Labor Pain

Learn what a contraction feels like, whether labor is always painful, and how you can reduce labor pain by decreasing fear and tension and increasing confidence, relaxation, and comfort.

Labor Pain Toolbox

Provides an overview of all the tools in a Toolbox for Coping with Labor Pain. It introduces both non-drug comfort techniques and pain medications, explores how the choice of pain coping techniques influences the whole experience of labor, and discusses the pain medication preference scale.

Understanding Labor Pain

I discuss the physiology of pain and ways that people who have been through birth  describe how contractions feel. Given all of the physical changes and challenges of labor, it’s not surprising it is painful for many people. The acronym P.A.I.N. can remind us that labor pain is Purposeful, Anticipated, Intermittent, and Normal. However, understanding […]

Labor Pain Toolbox

Podcast Episode 1: The most common question from people preparing for labor is ‘how will we handle the pain’? This episode provides an overview of all the tools that we can stock in a Toolbox for Coping with Labor Pain. It introduces both non-drug comfort techniques and pain medications, explores how the choice of pain […]

Hormones and Labor Pain

Hormones have a big impact on labor pain. If the birthing mother is anxious or frightened, adrenaline slows labor and increases pain. If she is relaxed and feels safe and loved, oxytocin and endorphins speed labor and reduce pain.

New Ways to Talk about Labor Pain V: Research on Effectiveness of 3 Mechanisms

In 2012, a new Cochrane review of pain management for women in labor was released. Although it had positive things to say about the non-pharmacological techniques, it also said that research into their efficacy was unclear due to limited evidence… “WHAT WORKS: Evidence suggests that epidural, combined spinal epidural (CSE) and inhaled analgesia effectively manage […]

New Ways to Talk about Labor Pain, IV: Bonapace Method

The Bonapace Method for reducing pain during childbirth can be used instead of, or in conjunction with, a traditional childbirth education class. This method does not just teach pain coping techniques, but also teaches about the role of labor pain, how pain messages are transmitted in the body, and three mechanisms that help moderate the […]

New Ways to Talk about Labor Pain III: Diffuse Noxious Inhibitory Control

Diffuse Noxious Inhibitory Control (DNIC) is one of the mechanisms we can use for managing pain. That name is a mouthful, so I call these counter-irritants. (Read my post on birth combs as a DNIC tool here.) The principle is that if a laboring mom adds a pain or discomfort on her body during a […]

New Ways to Talk About Pain II – Working with Labor Pain

Many years ago, I created a class I called Working with Labor Pain. I had realized that if women were expecting non-drug comfort techniques to take away their pain like an epidural can, then they would be disappointed. If they imagined that if they used a few deep breathing techniques and some visualization, then labor […]