The A-Z List of Creating Comfort in Birth.

Comfort measures to consider for strength, power, inspiration and relief in Birth. A reference for birthing mothers and their caregivers, partners and/or attendants.

  • Acupressure. Some points to keep in mind: LI4 or Hoku point, for gathering energy at beginning of labor, at base of pointer finger before webbing to thumb. Lower back, several locations, both sides, for pain relief. K1 for calming the mind and bringing energy downward, located in the center of sole of the foot in the depression next to the bottom of the ball of the foot. UB60, behind outside ankle, above the heel, for pain relief and increased circulation.
  • Application of hot or cold. Cold or hot packs, rice packs, wash clothes, ice cubes, warmed towels.
  • Aromatherapy. Smell can elicit a very powerful (and personal) response for relaxing the body, uplifting the mood, and reducing pain and anxiety. Rose oil is noted to be one of the most powerful for relaxing. You may also consider lavender, or frankincense for calming, soothing, reducing physical intensity. Clary Sage may be sooth discomfort and encourage contractions. Jasmine may bring joy, peace and self confidence.
  • Birthing ball. You can sit on, lean into, lean against, use as support in kneeling or standing. I was skeptical about these “gadgets” but they feel good! (Great anytime for improving posture and physical alignment.)
  • Breathing. For slowing down, going deep within, relaxing, re-gathering your energy, releasing. Like with meditation, when in need, breathe… A powerful tool for focus and allowing the opening of the altered states. You may choose a low, slow, deep down breathing, all the way into your belly, maybe even. You may try loose and open breathing with a soft jaw, soft eyes, soft hands, an opening breath, opening up your breathing, your body, your soul.
  • Connect with your baby. Easy to overlook and think it’s just you and the world around you. Don’t forget to look within. You are connected, working together in the divine dance, the sacred transformation. Share your souls and combine your efforts or release with each other in trust and love.
  • Dance. Move, rock, sway, shift, gentle or rock it out. Allow your body to move with it, open to it, get in the groove with it. Allow your hips, your pelvis, your entire body to become the personal or primordial birth dance.
  • Education. Knowing what to expect in normal natural birth is one of the most powerful tools you have. You are working on that now. Trust yourself. Empower yourself. Educate yourself.
  • Empty bladder. This not only relieves pressure and increases physical comfort and space, but may encourage you to move about.
  • Environment. The assurance of privacy, comfort, safety. Knowing you and your choices will be respected. Honoring the sacred of this event. Dim lights, warmth, reducing distractions and disturbances.
  • Eye contact. Look deep. Look strong. See your connections, your answers, your power, your beauty and love in the eyes of another. We can gather strength from the depth of those present with and for us.
  • Focus. On breath. On body. On baby. On soul. On a candle. On music. On movement, swaying hips or rocking pelvis or rolling shoulders. On love. On each other. On the powerful vibe. On the Divine.
  • Guided meditation and/or self-hypnosis.
  • Hydration. Straws, sippy cups, favorite water bottle or tea cups… Your special teas (try nettle and red raspberry leaf) or fresh spring water. Try the Labor Aid Recipe, warm or cool. Drink, drink, drink… and 15 minutes, take another sip!
  • Immersion in water. Tub or birthing pools. Many studies (and fellow women) share wonderful results reducing and even eliminating pain with water birth.
  • Massage. Head, shoulders, back,  hips, hands, legs, feet…
  • Movement. Rocking, swaying, dancing, walking, stretching, changing positions, pelvic rocks, belly dancing.
  • Music. Your personal preference. Chanting, drumming, rhythmic tunes, your favorites tunes, uplifting or inspiring compositions. You may want to plan ahead and prepare a CD, or get a live streaming station geared up. Silence is a powerful tool for some women, too.
  • Position changes. During labor you should assume whatever position is most comfortable to you. Sometimes receiving suggestions or reminders to move and change positions is helpful. Standing, kneeling, squatting, stretching, standing, leaning, supported squat, birthing ball, rolling over, lifting legs, hands and knees, using a partner, pulling on a rope or something overhead.
  • Pressure. Massage or pressure points or squeezing the hips. Fists, Lower back, hips, thighs, shoulders.
  • Rebozo. Don’t leave home without it. A timeless tool in birth. A shall, a support, a pressure relief. For changing position – of mother and baby! Practice and play with it ahead of time. The benefits are unlimited.
  • Relaxation. The mood can work for you. Breathe, zone out, relax, surrender… use candles, incents, music. Lights, sounds, smells. What relaxes you? Remove distractions, disturbances, nervous or fearful people. Guided suggestions, live or recorded. Internal suggestions, outer voices.
  • Remember the three R’s. Besides relaxation, you may rely on the power of ritual and rhythm.  Explore what these may mean to you. Discover as the moment arises. These tools will be there for you, innately, primally, a part of your internal wisdom. Trust and turn to the them when and if need be. Follow the suggestions of others if they feel right for you.
  • Shower. Combining the use of changing positions, warmth or cool, and hydrotherapy.
  • Song (and maybe even dance) Having another person, yourself, or a cd of singing, chanting, women’s songs, primal rhythms, circle songs, lullabies, something from your childhood.  Humming to yourself, or in the background may be soothing too.
  • Surrender. Let go. Release of control. Completely liberate your body, mind, soul. Allow the eternal divine earth mother powers to guide you. Or turn to your partner or an attendant for their power to lean on. Turn to God, to your inner wisdom, to the wise woman tradition, to your partner. Trust. Believe. Know. Allow it to flow.
  • Touch. Someone else’s hands on your head, your shoulders, your legs, your hips. Just knowing someone is there, feeling their presence, their energy, connecting, grounding. Massage and Acupressure or apply cool/warm cloths work well too.
  • Visualization. See yourself as you want to be. You can be; you are. See yourself transforming. See your baby arriving. See yourself connecting with the eternal Divine, the ever powerful sister spirit. Have an attendant share a guided visualization, or speak/feel this for yourself.
  • Words of comfort. Having your partner or attendant reminding you you can, you know, you are doing it, it is happening, it is natural, it is normal, you are fine, you are wonderful, you are powerful, you are a part of the sisterhood. You may enjoy inspirational recorded messages or hypnotherapy or guided meditations.
  • Z’s. Rest… Close your eyes and sleep in between contractions, or in lull times of labor. Yes, you can. Our bodies, minds and souls are amazing. And rest is sometimes the best medicine for powering us through the next unfolding.
  • Zone out. Get into your space. Have others guard your space, and hold your space. Allow yourself to go deep… Find the power within.

Let’s add to this list. What else should be included? What has worked for you – as either birthing mother, or supportive attendant?