Labor for the most part has many stages and transitions and at some point the sensations get stronger and some describe them in terms of pain. Note, that pain exists in the body to drive us to an action. It’s a protection mechanism. How much pain we feel depends on our emotional state, the amount of or potential for, danger/damage and then how we respond to it. Here’s what to do to alleviate that pain:
First, Assess the Body to see what you can be doing to assist with the physiological aspects of labor. What is the action you are being driven to? Maybe, it’s as simple as changing your position or adding more movement to help baby move deeper into the birth canal. Simply getting on your hands and knees can reduce the pressure felt in the low back. Do you need massage or a heat pack to release tension? How about some acupressure or even direct counter pressure in the area that is bothering you? Also check in with what you know about baby’s position because the sensations of labor can increase if the uterus is working extra hard to turn that babe into a great position. (And yes babies are born in all positions.)
After you have assessed the body and taken action it’s time for number two:
Change Your Focus! All the sensations of the body are experienced in the mind and if the signal does not reach the brain we don’t feel it! So by using techniques such as mindfulness, affirmations, listening to music, breathing, vocalization, rhythm and ritual, hypnosis etc we shift our focus and perspective so that we don’t experience the sensations as pain; or significantly decrease them. If we focus on the pain it usually increases. Partners it’s noteworthy to say that in labor it is not always clear what is needed in the moment; so keep trying different things until something sticks.
The elements of assessing the body and finding your focus will be set on repeat through out the many stages and transitions of the labor process. Learning and practicing the comfort measures and focus techniques during pregnancy should make the labor and birth easier.