top of page

What are 'Alternative' Pain Relief Options?

Why is it that when we think 'alternative' we think hippies, harem pants, stone circles and dreadlocks! Not that there is anything wrong with this, but the word 'alternative' doesn't seem to conjure up an image that is aligned with who all of us are - capable birthing women.

If you have watched any of my videos, you will know that I don't fit that category of 'alternative'. But I do believe strongly in alternative pain relief options. Even if you plan to use Gas and Air or have an epidural, having a bag of tricks up your sleeve before you reach that point, can make birth more comfortable and give you the best chance at labour progressing naturally.

I will say this about medical pain relief - I do find it crazy that for 9 months we are very good girls, we don't drink alcohol or eat foods that could harm our baby, and yet we get to the birth and heroin (diamorphine is a form of heroin!) is one of the things suddenly we are allowed! That does not make any sense to me! But none-the-less the first time around I didn't have any options it felt like, and I used this.

So second time around I really did my research so that I didn't reach this point again. Here are my top 5 alternative pain relief suggestions.

  1. WATER

Whether you plan a water birth or not. During early labour, hop in a bath, it will help your muscles relax, ease tension and allow labour to progress more efficiently. If there is pain in your lower back, get on all 4's and run the shower head on your lower back or have your birth partner do this. Finally, obviously, if you are able to have a water birth have one! This can really help keep you comfortable as your body naturally relaxes, but also you are more able to move around and being able to adjust your position during birth, and get into positions that you can't on dry land, can really help with pain.

2. TENS Machine

If you are not having a water birth, a tens machine is a great gadget to add to your birth bag. TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. It’s a form of pain relief that you can control with a hand-held device.

TENS is thought to work as the electrical pulses stimulate nerves that run to the spinal cord and block the transmission of pain. This creates a tingling feeling. You can control the strength of the current yourself or your birth partner can do this. This can help you stay in control of your contractions.