Pain in labor

Why is labor painful?
The pain you feel during labor is caused by contractions of the muscles of the uterus and by pressure on the cervix as it’s opening. Some have described labor pains as extremely strong menstrual cramps.
Ways to manage pain while in labor
  • Quiet and calm room
  • Music of my choice
  • Nice smells
  • Dimmed lights
  • Walking or dancing
  • Changing positions
  • Breathing/Relaxation
  • Visualization/Hypnosis
  • Massage
  • Acupressure (pressure points)
  • Birthing ball
  • Hot/cold pack
  • Shower/Bath
  • Nitrous oxide (laughing gas)
  • Pain medication and/or epidural
Can I change my pain management during labor?

YES!  Having a baby is a very personal experience. You do have choices. It’s so important that you speak up and tell your doctor or midwife what you want and need.

When you are in labor, the safety of you and your baby comes first. That may mean you need to change your birth plan in the room. That’s okay! That’s normal. Make sure you and your birth partner have the information you need from your doctor or midwife to make the right choice for your family.

Have more questions?
Sources:, The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin with Katie Rohs.