How will I cope with contractions during labour?

I still remember asking myself this question when I was pregnant with my first. I considered it for about 3 minutes in total. At which point I felt too overwhelmed and decided to bury my head in the sand instead.

Look, I won’t lie. This strategy didn’t work out well for me. Because I didn’t know how to cope with the pain of contractions, or even what my body was doing, I didn’t know how to help myself.

I came out of my first birth feeling negative and traumatised by the whole experience.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

You can have an enjoyable birth experience that makes you feel proud and empowered rather than defeated. (In fact the births of my second and third boy were exactly that.)

You do this by learning how to work with your body and how to cope with contractions during labour.

cope with contractions during labour

How to prepare yourself to cope with contractions during labour

Learn what your body is doing during labour and how you can work with it.

I recommend ALL pregnant women enrol in some kind of birth education course before giving birth. There are lots of different brands out there and I honestly think it doesn’t matter too much which one you choose – many of them teach similar content so just choose one that vibes with you (hypnobirthing, Shebirths, Birthbeat, etc. Or you could check out my course Yoga wisdom for birth)

In these courses you’re going to learn what your body is doing during labour and birth. This makes the whole process a lot less scary. If you know WHY your body is hurting during labour it makes it easier to get through the sensations than if you feel like the pain must be because something is wrong.

Learn to breathe through contractions

Most birth education courses (and pregnancy yoga classes!) teach you how to breathe during contractions. This is because the breath is one of our best tools to cope with contractions during labour. It will help you relax when the sensations become intense and helps you to not become overwhelmed and tense up (which makes the pain of contractions worse.

Get in the right frame of mind

If you spend your entire labour thinking ‘This hurts. This is terrible. I can’t cope with this.”

That will be your truth.

If instead you can work on your mindset to believe “This pain is my body working to deliver my baby. I can cope with this.”

Then that will be your experience.

In my pregnancy yoga classes we often practice experiencing difficult sensations in the body. We’ll hold a pose for an extended period of time so that we can become familiar with what it feels like to feel discomfort in the body and use the breath and the mind to cope.

The class below will help you practice using the breath to build physical and mental stamina so that you are prepared to cope with contractions during labour.

If you’re brand new to yoga you might like to download my free yoga guide for pregnancy and birth.

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