by Jennifer Shakeel
While I truly hate to burst the bubble that contractions only happen during labor, they can actually start weeks even months before you actually arrive to that magical day when you baby decides to enter the world. Depending on which pregnancy this is for you and how far along you are will depend on when you actually notice the contractions. One thing that you will notice for sure is the pain and discomfort that they cause the closer you get to special day.
For example, I have been having contractions for the last month. First they were just annoying more then anything, they had little to no consistency to them so they were nothing to be alarmed about. They would come and go and drinking a big glass of cold water helped to calm them down and stop them for awhile. Take note of this, if you want to stop the annoying contractions start hydrating yourself. Many times we don’t realize that we are dehydrated and that alone can cause contractions.
Let’s focus on the more uncomfortable and painful ones for the moment though. The contractions I have been having for the last few days are intense, they take my breath away and really I can’t even remember what being comfortable and not in pain feels like at this point. I am also one of those people that refuses to take anything while I am pregnant because I fear harming the baby (paranoid.. maybe). However due to the intensity of the contractions and for how long I have had them they are wearing me out.
Now I know that they are only going to get more intense and painful, which is actually what you want as long as they are changing the cervix and progressing labor. They can become unbearable though, and once you are in the hospital you are going to have a litany of options for pain relief, which can be given within a certain time frame to help you tolerate the pain. This doesn’t mean that you have to take them, especially if you want a completely natural and holistic delivery experience. I did with my first child, it was wonderful. The pain is so temporary and reward so great that I was ready to do it again right away.
Every pregnancy is different, every person tolerates pain differently and many women especially today want a more natural experience. So what options do they have to help them cope with the intensity. Glad that you asked. Here are number of options that you have.
The first one I want to recommend is acupressure. Acupressure is completely natural, and will not harm the baby at all and if done correctly by you or your partner will help you manage the intensity of the contractions. Two of the best acupressure points to relieve contraction pain is the BL-32 point which is located one finger width from the crease of you bottom and one thumb width to the right or left of the spine. There is a depression that can be felt that is where the point is. When it is pressed you should feel some numbness and a warm feeling. This pressure point is extremely useful to alleviate pain.
There is also a point on the foot that your partner could press on known as the KID-1. To find it flex your toes, the point is located in the notable depression in the middle upper third of the foot. Works best if your partner uses his/her knuckle to apply pressure up towards the big toe.
If the thought of having your partner touch you makes anger swell in your head, one realize that it is just the hormones and secondly take heart in the fact that there other options.
If you are a woman that found relief from menstrual pain through a heating pad or hot water bottle you will be happy to know that you can use them to relieve contraction pain as well.
Believe it or not, birthing in water or a tub will also help control contraction pain. That is the real reason more and more women are opting to give birth in water. Granted, the medical recommendations that back up you using the birthing pool is that you be at least 5 cm dilated before you get in the water so that the water doesn’t stop labor. Remember the goal is to make the pain tolerable not to halt delivery.
A final recommendation is what is known as calmbirthing. Basically what this requires is you learning to relax during labor. (As I write that statement I giggle, only because for some woman that is impossible, when you think about all that is about to happen and everything that is going on being relaxed is nowhere on the list of things to do.) But if you want to control the pain of the contractions then you need to be able to breathe and relax. The more anxious and tense you get the worse the contractions and the pain is going to be, and it isn’t necessarily going to be productive pain. This method of pain control is used in all over the world and is found to be very beneficial.
There are many options available to you to help you deal with pain, and only you are going to know which is going to work best for you. Take some time before the big day to discuss all your options with your health care professional, and to do some research to see what will work for you.
Jennifer Shakeel is a writer and former nurse with over 12 years medical experience. As a mother of two incredible children with one on the way, I am here to share with you what I have learned about parenting and the joys and changes that take place during pregnancy. Together we can laugh and cry and rejoice in the fact that we are moms!