Mental Strategies



What are examples of mental strategies used for labor pain relief?

What are the effects of mental strategies on labor pain?

What is needed to use mental strategies?

What are the advantages of mental strategies?

What are the drawbacks of mental strategies?



What are examples of mental strategies used for labor pain relief?


Mental strategies for labor pain relief include:
  • visualization (for example, you might repeat to yourself the phrase, "My body is strong and is working well for me" and visualize this thought as a reality for your body)
  • focus on the breath
  • breathing techniques (often known as "Lamaze breathing")
  • non-focused awareness (noticing what you see, hear, feel, smell without holding on to any of these thoughts)
  • vocalization (for example, moaning and groaning)
  • music
  • prayer; and
  • hypnosis.

What are the effects of mental strategies on labor pain?

Mental strategies offer something for every personality type. They can help you work with your body, reframe the pain, keep focused and centered, or distract you from painful sensation.

What is needed to use mental strategies?

While books or videos can provide information, childbirth preparation classes are probably your best bet for learning mental strategies. As with comfort measures, a doula can assist you with these in labor.

What are the advantages of mental strategies?

Mental strategies:
  • offer many possibilities for relieving labor pain and can be combined with each other and with other types of techniques to suit every need
  • have no lag time between deciding to use one and doing so
  • promote a sense of accomplishment and capability, which can be more critical to a satisfying childbirth experience than pain relief in and of itself
  • do not interfere with labor progress or the ability to push.
  • do not limit your ability to move about
  • may enable you to avoid pain medications and their possible adverse effects
  • may enable you to delay or limit the use of pain medications and limit adverse effects.

What are the drawbacks of mental strategies?

Mental strategies:
  • may not provide adequate pain relief
  • often require training and practice.
Most recent page update: 11/16/2012


© 2014 National Partnership for Women & Families. All rights reserved.

Founded in 1918, Childbirth Connection has joined forces with and become a core program of the National Partnership for Women & Families. Together, these two women's health powerhouses are transforming maternity care in the United States.
News and Features
Special Announcement

Childbirth Connection has joined forces with and become a core program of the National Partnership for Women & Families.
Read more


Our History

This interactive timeline highlights our trailblazing work since 1918.
Launch timeline


Our Vision

We want all women and babies receive the best possible maternity care.
Play video


Featured Resource


Check out our resource, "What Every Pregnant Woman Needs to Know about Cesarean Section."
Read more


Get Involved

Read our 2020 Vision, Blueprint for Action, blog and more
Sign up for email updates
Find us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Support us