What are examples of comfort measures used for labor pain relief?
What are the effects of comfort measures on labor pain?
What is needed to use comfort measures?
What are the advantages of comfort measures?
What are the drawbacks of comfort measures?
measures for labor pain relief vary, and include many options. Pictures
of some labor pain relief comfort measures are provided below:
Create a Calm Environment
Dim lights, peaceful surroundings, privacy, warmth.
Increase Physical Comfort
Walking, slow dancing with partner, pelvic rocking, positioning pillows for comfort, sitting and swaying on birth ball (a large physiotherapy ball), lifting up the abdomen, rocking in a rocking chair.
Massage, stroking, cuddling, counter pressure against the lower back, acupressure.
Apply Heat (with or without water)
Deep tub bath, shower, heating pad on groin or back, heated blanket.
Ice pack on lower back, cool cloth to wipe face.
"Essential" oils, scented objects.
the name suggests, comfort measures increase comfort. They may ease
labor pain directly or indirectly by soothing and relaxing you.
measures may require nothing more than adjusting the lighting or a pair
of willing hands to rub your back. They may also be as elaborate as a
temperature-controlled tub big enough to move around in and deep enough
to immerse you to your shoulders when seated. Many items are
inexpensive and can easily be brought with you such as massage oil,
massage tools, or frozen gel packs. Others can be improvised on site
such as making a cold pack by putting ice chips in an exam glove and
tying it off.
One of the major advantages in hiring a doula to
provide labor support is that she knows many comfort measures. Most
doulas bring comfort-related items with them to the birth.
- offer lots of possibilities for relieving labor pain and can be
combined with each other and with other types of techniques to suit
- have short or no lag time between deciding to use one and doing so (with the possible exception of deep tub baths)
- do not interfere with labor progress and in some cases can enhance progress or the effectiveness of pushing
- promote a sense of accomplishment and capability, which can be more
critical to a satisfying childbirth experience than pain relief in and
- have no effect on your state of consciousness
- may enable you to avoid labor pain medications and their possible adverse effects
- may enable you to delay or limit the use of medications and limit adverse effects
- unlike pain medications, can be discontinued immediately if they don't help or in the unlikely event that they cause a problem.
- comfort measures may not provide adequate labor pain relief
- comfort measures may require equipment
- deep tub baths may slow labor if taken too early in labor
- deep tub baths may cause maternal fever if the water temperature exceeds body temperature.
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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