Updated: Apr 30, 2022
Comfort isn’t the same for everyone, so that’s why as I doula, I come prepared with a plethora (like the word didn't you!) of comfort measures to help keep my clients relaxed and engaged during their birthing experience. In this blog I will cover a few of my favorites, but this isn’t my whole list, just a few easy peasy ones I know most folks will be able to do.
We will learn:
Feel free to click on the titles above to jump ahead and skip to the section you need!
Hi, I’m Charda, a Black mom, doula, childbirth educator, prenatal/postnatal yoga instructor and lactation consultant in San Diego, California. I love teaching families how to have a more healthy and positive pregnancy, birth, parenting & breastfeeding experience! My focus is on empowering Black moms, babies and families to be resilient, informed and protected on their life journey.
What are comfort measures?
Comfort measures provide direct or indirect pain relief which can be very effective during labor and birth. Methods such as hydrotherapy, hypnobirthing, patterned breathing, relaxation, and visualization can increase the production of endogenous endorphins that bind to receptors in the brain for pain relief. Try to create a warming, private and peaceful environment for your birth to remain calm and present during this amazing experience. You can increase your own comfort by walking, slow dancing and rocking your pelvis, using pillows to position for comfort as well as sitting or swaying on a birth ball and lifting the abdomen gently and rocking while supporting the belly. These are all proven to provide some level for comfort and relief during the process of birthing. Let’s dive in deeper!
We immediately think of a birthing pool, and home birth or birth center but that’s not the only way you can use water as a form of hydrotherapy for pain relief. Having a bath, shower or warm water on parts of your body can provide the same desired effect. If you are at home this will be easier, some birth locations like UCSD Jacobs medical center in La Jolla, CA will allow you to use the tub for comfort measure relief but you will not be allowed to give birth in that tub. The tub itself however is there for your comfort during your trial of labor so try it! The water should not be warmer than your body temperature, ask a trusted member of your care team to help you get the water ready and get in to relax!
Reduces stress which allows your body to release more oxytocin
Decrease pressure on your abdominal muscles
Reduced need for an epidural
Shortens duration of labor
Lowers your blood pressure
Relaxes perineal tissues which prevents risk of tearing
Decreases risks of interventions and increases your relaxation
Hot + Cold Therapy:
Focuses on using different tools that can be heated or cold to be used throughout all stages of labor to provide relief and soothe back pain by decreasing the level of sensation felt.
Store bought heating pads (non-electric)
Warm water bottles
Rice sock - My Tik Tok on making your own heating pad!
Warm bath or shower
Store bought cold packs
Wrap frozen items in a thin towel or paper towel or bag
Cold or damp washcloth soaked and squeezed in ice cold water
Studies have shown that use of a birth ball can help with relief of uncomfortable sensations during labor, which gives us a sense of control over our body’s pressure, balance and coordination at a time when some of us birth givers may feel super out of control or out of body.
Bounce gently on the edge of the ball
Place ball on a surface like floor or hospital bed and lean over the ball
Rock pelvis back and forth on ball
Lean over your front half while on the ball
Can use for pushing phase of labor
Use it if you have an epidural
Use it for KICO positions (Knees In Calves Out)
Mermaid pose (flying cowgirl)