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What can I do to ease the pain?

The aim during the latent phase of labour is to stay as calm and comfortable as possible. You may find it helpful to:

  • try to walk or move about
  • try to rest and sleep if your labour starts at night
  • drink fluids, such as water. Sports (isotonic) drinks may also help keep your energy levels up
  • have small, regular snacks, such as toast, biscuits or a banana (although be aware that many women don't feel very hungry and some feel, or are, sick)
  • try relaxation and breathing exercises
  • have a massage – your birth partner could help by rubbing your back
  • take paracetamol according to the instructions on the packet – paracetamol is safe to take in labour
  • have a warm bath or shower
  • gently bounce or rock on a birthing ball
  • use a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machine, which attaches to your back with sticky pads and sends out tiny electrical impulses to block pain signals sent from your body to your brain. This will make you less aware of the pain.

There is not much evidence that aromatherapy, yoga or acupressure work to relieve pain, but you can use them if you want to. Talk to your midwife during your pregnancy if you’re interested in using these therapies.

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