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5. Practice Rhythmic Breathing
Breathe fully in a slow rhythm during contractions. Release tension with each exhalation and try moaning. Also try taking quick breaths, about one every 2 to 3 seconds (20 to 30 per minute). If you lose your rhythm, your partner needs to help you regain it with eye contact, rhythmic hand or head movements, or by talking you through contractions.
6. Use Imagery and Visualization
Focusing on something that makes you happy (like your partner’s face, an inspirational picture or favorite object) engages your senses and decreases your awareness of pain. Listen to music, a soothing voice or a recording of ocean waves, and imagine yourself in a relaxing environment.
7. Take a Warm Shower or Bath
A warm shower is soothing, especially if you can sit on a stool and direct a handheld showerhead onto your abdomen or back. Bathing in warm water can relax you, and it may even speed up labor.
8. Keep Moving
Move around as much as you can. Walk, lean, sway, rock and squat. Some positions will be more comfortable than others.
9. Seek Relief with Warm or Cool Compresses
Place a warm pack on your lower abdomen, groin, lower back or shoulders during labor. A cold pack or latex glove filled with ice chips can soothe painful areas. Cool cloths relieve a sweaty face, chest or neck.
10. Indulge in Gentle Touch or Massage
Whether it’s someone holding your hand, stroking your cheek or hair, or patting your hand or shoulder, touch conveys reassurance, caring and understanding. Have your partner or doula massage you with light or firm strokes using oil or lotion.
Giving Birth with Confidence, the online community created by Lamaze International, provides articles and tips written for and by real women (and men) on a variety of topics related to pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and parenting. Their goal is to help women achieve healthy pregnancies and safe, satisfying births by offering a meeting ground to obtain information and support from other women, Lamaze-Certified Childbirth Educators and knowledgeable experts.