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.

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Childbirth Connection is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1918 as Maternity Center Association. Our mission is to improve the quality of maternity care through research, education, advocacy and policy. Childbirth Connection promotes safe, effective and satisfying evidence-based maternity care and is a voice for the needs and interests of childbearing families.
Most recent page update: 11/16/2012