Care at the hospital during labor
When you arrive at the hospital in labor, the nursing staff may perform a physical examination of the abdomen to determine the size and position of the fetus, and an examination of your cervix. In addition, the nursing staff may check the following:
- Blood pressure
- Frequency and intensity of contractions
- Fetal heart rate
- Urine and blood samples
Pain management types for labor and birth
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- Relaxation techniques such as progressive relaxation, in which various muscle groups are relaxed in series, can help a woman detect tension and be better able to release that tension.
- Touch, including massage or light stroking, may be used to relieve tension. A jetted bath or a shower during labor also may be effective at relieving pain or tension. Ask your physician or midwife before taking a tub bath in labor.
- Heat or cold therapy is used to help relax tensed or painful areas, such as a warmed towel or a cold pack.
- Imagery, a technique of using the mind to form mental pictures, can help create relaxed feelings.
- Meditation or focused thinking during which you focus on an object or task, such as breathing, helps direct the mind away from the discomforts.
- Breathing techniques that use different patterns and types of breathing can help direct the mind away from the discomforts.
- Changing positions and moving around during labor helps relieve discomfort and may even speed labor along. Rocking in a rocking chair, sitting in the "Tailor sit" position, sitting on a special "birthing ball," walking and swaying all may be helpful. Your labor nurse, physician or midwife can help you find comfortable positions that also are safe for you and your baby.