On the website of the KNOV you can read a lot about how to cope with pain during labor. It is important to understand that this is a unique type of pain. It is a signal that your baby is coming, rather than an indication that something is “wrong” as in the case of a broken bone or other types of pain.
Your body responds differently to the pain of labor, as it releases endorphins, the natural morphine of your body. You will probably become more focused on yourself and what’s happening within. Below are some tips to stimulate the production of endorphins:
Taking a warm shower (or bad) is a pleasant way to ease the pain. The warmth helps you relax and enables you to focus on your breathing. It is best to maintain a calm breathing, as this ensures optimal oxygen supply for both you and the baby. Only step under a warm shower when labor is progressing well, as it can be so relaxing in the early stages that contractions may decrease.
By controlling your breathing, you maximize the use of your lungs, so you will get a lot of oxygen in and breathe out all toxins. Proper breathing (which we can assist you with) helps you manage contractions effectively and reduces muscle tension.
You can try various positions to control the pain, as suggested in the brochure you receive from us around 30 weeks into your pregnancy. Your partner, mother, friend or obstetrician can massage you by adding pressure to your lower back.
Sometimes yoga (including calm, deep breathing) or (self)hypnosis are applied. In our practice, we have had some positive experiences with this. We notice that the women using this can “let go” of their bodies better or more easily, as we refer to it.
You can also use the Geboorte-TENS. This device uses small electric shocks through adhesive pads placed on your back. You operate the device yourself. Some women experience reduced pain with this method, particularly during the early stages of labor. Geboorte-TENS does not have any harmful effects on you or your baby. Check your health insurance policy to see if it covers the costs. You can use our Geboorte-TENS device, and we charge a fee of €18,00 for the pads.
Another option is to use the epi-no device. This is a balloon-like device that you insert vaginally and inflate, allowing you to gradually stretch your pelvic floor muscles, similar to what happens during childbirth. This can give you confidence by giving you an idea of what stretching will feel like. By reducing anxiety associated with this aspect, you can approach labor with more confidence.