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  • Writer's pictureHands and Hearts Birth

Top 10 Non-Medical Comfort Measures

Updated: Oct 25, 2022


Having people you trust tell you that you’re doing great, your baby is doing great, and that can assure you aren’t about to rip your body in half with the next contraction can lessen a good deal of anxiety you may be feeling, which in turn takes the edge off of your pain perception.


Spending some time laboring in the shower or submerged in a tub of water can lessen your pain as well. In part, this is because anxiety is decreased, but also because the bouyancy in the tub relieves some of the physical pressure of contractions. It’s just hard to feel tense while relaxing in a nice warm tub!

Birth Balls.

If your chosen place of delivery doesn’t have a birth ball for laboring on, bring your own. All throughout your pregnancy, simple exercises can be performed using a birth ball to help increase your comfort level. During labor, straddling can help spread out the pressure on your cervix, leaning over top of them and gently rocking can make for an easier massage during contractions.


For decades, Lamaze has taught short, rhythmic breathing to allow your focus to shift away from your discomfort. Another technique, using long, slow breaths can also help release the tension that is building inside as labor progresses. tuning your breathing into an outside source, such as a meditation tape or soothing music, can also be beneficial.


Experienced caregivers know which body buttons to push to help relive your pain. They’ve been trained to seek out and apply pressure to special spots unique to the laboring body that can soothe back labor or ease headaches. If you are planning to give birth drug-free, be sure your support person knows these spots well.


Walking, dancing, simply swaying from side to side all help labor progress and distract you from anticipating the next contraction. Even if you have found a comfortable position, you need to change it up at least every 30 minutes to help keep those contractions rolling. Every movement or change in position can help your baby shift himself into a better position for birth.


A partner or other support person who knows how to knead your shoulders and neck just right can put you in a state of relaxation that can make the time between contractions deeply restful. It’s definitely worth practicing this know, just to make sure it works well :-)

Hot or Cold Compresses.

The numbing effect of cold on the lower body or the soothing effect of a hot compress on the belly can work quickly.


Some women are shy about making too many noises during labor. Not all vocalizing is screaming. Many women deep in the fugue state of labor let out beautiful, deep moans that express how their body is adjusting as the baby positions himself. Whatever sound you instinctively feel like making, go for it! Open the mouth, open the cervix, let the baby out!

Hire a Doula.

A personal labor assistant is trained in supporting you emotionally and physically, but not in the same way as a midwife would. Many women choosing home birth believe the midwife can act as their doula. In many ways they can, but it’s always better to have a dedicated labor support person there. A Doula provides continuous labor support and they are skilled in all of the above techniques, adding a calm, experienced presence at the times when your partner or midwife may not be available or need to rest.

Studies have shown having a Doula can provide the following benefits:

~ 25% decrease in the risk of Cesarean; the largest effect was seen with a doula (39% decrease)

~ 8% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth; the largest effect was seen with a doula (15% increase)

~ 10% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief

shorten labors by 41 minutes on average

~ 38% decrease in the baby’s risk of a low five minute Apgar score

~ 31% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience

Whatever you choose for your birth experience, knowing these techniques for non-medicated pain relief can help you. And if having a Doula there is on your list, we would love to have you contact us!


Your Best Birth, Ricki Lake & Abby Epstein

Evidence Based Birth,

Evidence-Based Birth,

#alternativechildbirth #optimallabor

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