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Relaxation Techniques During Labour and Birth


pregnant woman sitting down in a yoga pose




Relaxation exercises can help with childbirth.

Here are some common techniques you can try:

Focal Point Concentration: Look at something or someone and try to clear your mind.

Visualization: Picture something or some place that makes you feel relaxed and safe.

Water Therapy: Stand or sit in the shower and direct the water to where it feels comfortable or soak in a tub. Try to postpone having a bath until you're in active labour, unless you are tired. During early labour, baths may temporarily slow your contractions. However, later in labour, baths are very helpful because they can decrease pain and accelerate the labour process. Drink lots of fluids when using the shower or tub.

Massage: Use smooth, rhythmic stroking or rubbing of the face, neck, shoulders, back, thighs, feet, or hands. Do it yourself of have someone else give you a massage.

Complete Relaxation: Take turns tensing and relaxing each part of your body, using moderate tension, for a period of three to five seconds (tensing too strongly can cause muscle cramps). Inhale as you tense and exhale as you relax. Work from your toes to the top of your head.

Resources & Links:

HealthLink BC: Labour and Delivery
HealthLink BC: Guided Imagery
HealthLink BC: Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Last Updated: August 10, 2013