Understanding Labor Pain

Emotional Factors

Many negative emotions can actually increase your perception of pain:

  • Fear of pain
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Anxiety
  • Self-doubt
  • Lack of education
  • Exhaustion
  • Dehydration
  • Hunger

Talk with your labor support person, women who've had positive birth experiences, and/or a professional therapist to help you develop a healthy emotional state for laboring. Having the support of a trusted person with whom you have good communication during labor is key to minimizing feelings of helplessness or fear of the unknown.

Learn about the process of labor to clear up any confusion about what exactly is going on inside your body. Get as much sleep as possible and take it easy in the final weeks before your due date. Extra rest will give you more stamina for labor.

And while each labor is unique, reading or listening to birth stories of other women who've been through labor can give you a reality check in terms of what you might expect.

With some preparation and relaxation techniques, the painful aspects of laboring will be much easier to handle.

Source: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Reviewed 01/03 by Elizabeth Stein, CNM

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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