Natural Methods of Pain Relief During Labour

You have a range of different methods of pain relief to choose from when you are giving birth, and each of these options has its own pros and cons. There are options that suit some people but not others, and some women are not comfortable with using drugs or electrical stimulation as methods of pain relief. If you are looking for natural methods of pain relief there are steps you can take which don’t involve the administration of any chemical changes. It is important to remember, however, that while these methods can help they are not as effective as medical methods of pain relief like epidural anaesthesia.

What kinds of natural pain relief are there?

Depending on where you are and who you are consulting about pain relief, there are a number of options available to you including:

  1. Hydrotherapy
  2. Aromatherapy
  3. Hypnosis
  4. Acupuncture
  5. Reflexology
  6. Meditation
  7. Pattern Breathing
  8. Music Therapy

Which one you prefer is completely up to you, however it is always worth consulting your midwife or doctor about which method of pain relief they think is most appropriate for you and your pregnancy.


Acupuncture was originally developed in China as a method of relieving pain and treating a number of bodily ailments. This practice involves the careful insertion of extremely fine needles into specific points around the body where they relax muscles and impede pain signals. Acupuncture is a relatively popular method of alternative pain relief, and is thought to help induce labour at or after 40 weeks.

When looking at acupuncture as pain relief you should make sure that you are engaging a trained practitioner’s services. You should always make sure that you get your midwife’s input, as there are conditions and circumstances during which acupuncture might not be an appropriate method of pain relief.


Hypnosis is a very misunderstood practice, but it is one which has proven effective in many cases as a form of both physical and psychological therapy. It is extremely important to ensure that you are receiving hypnosis from a trained and experienced hypnotherapist.

Hypnosis works by inducing a trance like state during which you won’t be aware of the pain you are experiencing. It is important to remember that hypnosis is not effective for everyone who employs it.

Hydrotherapy (Water Birth)

Water births are also sometimes known as hydrotherapy, and involve either completely immersing a pregnant woman during labour in a pool of water, or alternatively using immersion in water as a tool for pain relief during labour. Water births remain a fairly controversial topic, however there are strong cases for the safety and effectiveness of water births. As a method of pain relief hydrotherapy has been shown by many to be quite effective, moreover the buoyancy involved when a mother is immersed in water causes a gravitational pull that allows for an easier, and therefore less painful, birth.


Aromatherapy is another controversial method of pain relief during labour with dubious effectiveness. That being said many women find that using a strong scent for aromatherapy during labour can relieve nausea, anxiety, and some pain during labour.

Remember that with these forms of ‘alternative’ and ‘natural’ pain relief effectiveness is sometimes an issue, and that you should always talk to your doctor or midwife about whatever method of pain relief you are interested in pursuing. Their expertise and advice are invaluable in ensuring that you choose a safe option for yourself and your child.

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