Planning on laboring without pain medication?

Some suggestions to help you minimize or eliminate the use pain medication:

- gather a supportive birth team, which could include a doula, and practice relaxation and comfort measures with them before labor

- be sure that medical staff knows your wishes.  Ask for their help and ask to not be offered pain medication.  If you need it, you will ask for it and receive it.  They can help you by giving you comfort measures and giving advice about progress

- use labor coping skills; body awareness, passive or active relaxation, massage and touch, baths and showers, heat and cold, movement, the birth ball, fluid intake, and attention focusing

- when your cervix is dilated to 6 or 7 cm, you and your partner can do a coping assessment.  If you are able to relax between contractions, if not during contractions, and are able to use another coping skill during contractions, you are doing great.

- at about 7 or 8 cm, your contractions are as intense as they are going to get, although they may come closer together.  If you made it to 7 cm without pain medication, you most likely will be able to continue with labor and birth without any medication if you desire, and if labor continues to follow a normal course.

- Questions to ask if you begin to get discouraged: How far dilated am I? How is labor progressing? Is it likely to last much longer? Are there other coping or comfort measures that would help? Can I postpone for 3-5 more contractions and then reassess? The answers to these questions will help you determine how to proceed.

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