Relaxation is associated with the reduction of tension in muscles, thus decreasing pain level. It can be in the form of active relaxation, touch relaxation or decreased stimulation from the environment - eg no bright light or loud noises. Relaxation breaks the cycle of tension-pain-anxiety.
The sensation of pressure/stroking sends faster messages to the brain than the pain messages and can actually block the transmission of pain impulses. These sensory impulses stimulate the release of the body's own 'pain killers' - endorphins. Massage can be in the form of counter-pressure, stroking/touch relaxation, kneading or deep pressure.
Good for relieving tension and increasing relaxation, heat produces sensory messages which are faster than pain impulses and which stimulate the release of endorphins. A hot bath, shower or warmed blanket may be helpful.
Ice packs may be used to numb a painful area and slow the transmission of pain messages. Also stimulates endorphin release.
Different positions can alter the amount of pain experienced and by trying various positions, a women is able to find positions which are most comfortable during labour. eg trunk erect positions can reduce pain as well as helping with the descent of the baby.
Rhythmic movement of the pelvis from side to side, round and round or back and forth, these movements work with contractions and help you go/flow with contraction pain. Usually in a trunk erect position; this also helps with the descent of the baby.
Concentration on music, breathing patterns or focussing on an object can block pain impulses by using up the nerve pathways, particularly at a conscious level.
Insertion of very fine needle points into special points in the body. Although this method is not fully understood, it may be again related to the release of endorphins and/or the interruption of pain transmission. This is not available through the Townsville Hospital. However, you are able to arrange a qualified practitioner and negotiate arrangements with the Unit Manager of Birth Suite.
Some oils are not suitable for pregnancy and labour. Please consult a qualified aromatherapist.
This is a small, battery-operated unit that puts out a series of electrical impulses. The strength of these can be adjusted and the current is delivered via electrodes attached to the skin with a gel. The electrical impulses provide a distraction from labour pains and also 'short circuit' the pain messages. They also help in the stimulation of endorphins. If you are considering using TENS, it is advisable to have some prior instruction on its use during the antenatal period.