Before I gave birth, I often wondered if it was possible to have a painless natural delivery. When I was pregnant, the biggest unspoken worry I had was that if I could handle giving birth to my baby naturally. Unspoken though, because millions of women around the world give birth every day, so there really must be nothing to worry about. It is still a worry if you’ve seen any Bollywood movie where the female actor is giving birth – grunting, screaming, sweating, pushing, occasionally passing out and giving birth really seems something to be worried about.
Since there was a high probability of the delivery being natural, it was time to explore if a painless natural delivery was actually possible.
Also read: Will Drinking Ghee Help in Normal Delivery?
Doctors suggest women who have a normal pregnancy to practice yoga (prenatal yoga) during the course of their pregnancy. The specific asanas (positions) practiced during prenatal yoga minimise stress on the back muscles while focusing on strengthening and stretching the pelvic muscles.
Prenatal yoga also focuses on breathing techniques a mother can follow during labour. These can calm her and make giving birth stress-free and comfortable. While yoga certainly has many health benefits, it is not a guaranteed way of painless delivery.
Prenatal yoga should only be done after consulting your doctor with the guidance of a certified yoga practitioner.
Self-hypnosis is a technique in which pregnant women learn to hypnotise themselves using deep breathing, visualisations, and positive affirmations. The aim of self-hypnosis is to train the mind into not stressing during labour but remaining calm and delivering the baby is a safe, gentle way.
Self-hypnosis is an offbeat method of giving birth and there is no medical research verifying its effectiveness as a means of pain-free delivery.
An epidural is the most popular method of pain-relief during delivery. Epidurals are pain-relief medicines which are administered in the back at the bottom of the spine through a fine tube (catheter). The needle, catheter or medication is not administered in the spine or nerves, but in the space between the nerves. Epidurals do not numb the area. Rather, they block the pain signals travelling from the pelvic region to the brain, thereby blocking out the pain.
Is taking an epidural painful?
Every person has a different pain threshold, but placing the epidural catheter does cause some discomfort in the spinal area it is placed in.
When is the epidural administered?
Epidurals are typically administered when the mother-to-be is in active labour and the cervix id 4-5 cms dilated.
Will the epidural affect my baby?
The baby during birth could be affected by many factors such as maternal health, multiple births, length of pregnancy, etc. There is no concrete evidence linking the dosage and combination of medicines in epidural to the baby’s health at birth. However, some research indicates that after epidural use, the baby might have trouble latching on while breastfeeding.
Also Read: 10 ways to ease labour pain during delivery
Will I be able to push?
Due to numbness in the pelvic region, after the epidural is administered, it might be difficult to feel the contractions and hence pushing might be difficult. The baby could, therefore, need more help in the form of forceps coming out of the birth canal.
When is it not safe to take an epidural?
Most women resort to anaesthesia for a painless natural delivery. Some women are very keen on having the experience of a natural delivery and feel that taking an epidural takes that experience away. They instead choose to take a local or region-specific anaesthesia.
Regional anaesthesia is administered in the area around the vagina and makes that area numb to pain. It is also given in cases where an episiotomy (surgical cut at the opening of the vagina to widen it and prevent damage during childbirth) is carried out.
Tranquilizers are given to women who are overly anxious and stressed during childbirth. They do not relieve pain but make the mother calmer during childbirth.
They are injected into the muscle or can be given through an IV and start working quickly. The effects of tranquilizers vary with dosage. A small dosage might make the mother-to-be pleasantly drowsy and less anxious. Tranquilizers do not slow down labour and allow the mother to participate in childbirth.
As a mother to be, you must explore all options of childbirth and choose the one you are most comfortable with. There is a lot of information available out there, but only your consulting gynecologist who is aware of your case-history, can guide you most effectively.
As a soon to be mother, focus on your diet and exercise. Keeping yourself and your growing baby healthy is a must. It is important to plan for labour day, but do remember that sometimes no matter how much you plan babies can arrive by surprise.
Want to share your mommy experience with other moms through words or images? Become a part of the Moms United community. Click here and we will get in touch with you