Herbal medicine for labour relief
Many natural remedies have proven to help women during labour. Herbs such as Wood Betony, Blue Cohosh and Vervain are natural pain-relievers and encourage relaxation. Pulsatilla and Raspberry Leaves stimulate regular contractions and prevent swelling and bleeding after birth.
These herbs are only available by talking to one of our Naturopaths.
Aromatherapy – Essential Oils help to create a calming atmosphere and will help you feel more relaxed and therefore pain may be reduced. You can use oils in a burner or in some Sweet Almond Oil massaged where you need it or even a few drops of Essential Oil in a bowl of warm water - this can be used as a compress on your back or abdomen, wherever you feel pain.
Clary Sage – has pain relief and sedative properties. Don’t use if you are using gas and air.
Neroli – is great if you are feeling scared or nervous
Ylang Ylang – is hugely calming to the senses.
Lavender – is very calming and good for aching backs and limbs. It is also a good antiseptic.
Warmth – Warmth has been used to relax tense muscles forever and can be used to provide relief from labour pain. Use a wheat bag or hot water bottle on your back, tummy or groin. When using a hot water bottle use hot water not boiling water and place it in a cover or towel as not to burn your skin. During the actual birth when the head is coming out, a soft warm flannel placed over your perineum (the tissue between vagina and the anus) can make you feel more comfortable as the tissue stretches, it wont necessarily prevent any tears to the area.
Breathing – Being focused on your breathing is an important way of getting through each contraction. Take a deep breath at the beginning of the contraction and as you breathe out, RELAX. Breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth, keep it very rhythmic, with a soft mouth and cheeks. Concentrate really hard on your breathing as the contraction builds up (this is a great time to use visualisation) and as the contraction fades away, RELAX.
Resting – Rest as much as possible during early labour, you need to conserve your energy for the time ahead. Keep your fluids up and have some healthy snacks or a meal if you can. Play music or watch tv or rest where you are comfortable. You will cope with any pain much better if you are not exhausted. Keep hydrated and eat small snacks.
Changing position – Try your best to avoid lying down on your back once contractions are regular and painful. This can make labour slower and you will become more tired. Try to remain as upright as possible but make sure you are as comfortable as possible.
Rock your hips, this is soothing and will help get the baby moving.
Get on all fours to ease backache.
Kneel down and lean on the seat of a chair.
Stand up and lean over the bed or on your partner.
Massage – is very soothing for some women during labour pain and can help keep you calm. Communicate to your partner or midwife where you like to be massaged; it may be at the base of your spine or between your shoulders. Try to let your partner know how firm the pressure needs to be to help you.
Being Supported – It is extremely important that those you choose to have with you during labour are calm, supportive and confident. You will need someone who won’t panic and is able to talk to health professionals on your behalf. Many women choose to have a female birthing partner as well as their husband/partner. There is a lot of evidence that having another female present during the birth helps to keep you feeling calm. Your birthing partners could be your husband or partner, sister, mother, father or a good friend. Do check with your midwife as some hospitals and birthing centers have strict numbers allowed during a birth.
Water birthing – Labouring in water can make contractions much lighter and more bearable. A study recently found that using a birthing pool significantly reduced the amount of pain relieving drugs used during labour and also reduced the amount of pain they reported feeling. Women who spent some time labouring in water were far less likely to need an epidural. Birthing pools are available for hire if you are planning a homebirth.
A Great Midwife – Having a great midwife who is not only competent but flexible will be very helpful during labour. You want someone who will keep you informed the whole time, who support you in your decisions to use natural health products or will support you if you decide to have an epidural.
Try our LabourEase as part your natural birth plan or consult one of our naturopaths for an individualised treatment.