How to Meditate During Labor

by Lara Alspaugh

No matter what you use for pain control during your labor and delivery, a calm, peaceful atmosphere will help to control your pain and bring you comfort during the grueling and beautiful process. Meditation can be a big part of controlling pain and can also be a wonderful supplement to other pain control methods---including medicinal or medical means of controlling pain. Meditation is a deep form of relaxation and can be used in many ways to provide comfort.

Items you will need

  • Calming music
  • Pillows
Step 1

Practice meditation during your pregnancy. Meditation is a behavior that is learned and its effectiveness can be improved with practice. Practice with many different methods---using music, deep breathing and yoga techniques to determine the method that suits you and your partner the best.

Step 2

Get into a comfortable position to become relaxed. Try using a rocking chair---the repetitive rocking may be useful---sitting up in bed or lying on your left side with plenty of pillows used to help you achieve a comfortable, relaxing position. Your comfort may also include adjustments to the light, temperature and noise in the room as well as personal comforts such as a pillow from home, your favorite lip balm or lotion.

Step 3

Settle your thoughts. Focus purely on the positive outcomes of your pregnancy, labor and delivery. Do not allow obtrusive thoughts of pain or poor outcomes enter your mind.

Step 4

Take slow, deep breaths, which are common in yoga and taught in many child birth education classes. Breathing in through your mouth and out through your nose, you want to feel your abdomen rise as the oxygen fills your lungs. Breath twice as slowly as you typically do---try breathing in and out as if you are blowing out a burning candle and don't want to splash the hot wax. There are other breathing methods that can be used during meditation and labor and delivery. None need to be sophisticated or complicated to work.

Step 5

Increase the tempo of your breathing as the contractions come faster and harder. Switching to "chest breathing"---quick breaths that force your chest cavity to rise and fall with the fluctuation of breath---may be more effective now. Let your body be your guide. There is no wrong pattern of breathing---so long as you are taking adequate air in and out with each breath. Ask your nurse, midwife or care giver to help you with different breathing techniques.

Tips

  • While having a scented candle glowing while meditating during labor may sound wonderful, most hospitals will not allow open flames in labor rooms. Oxygen is readily available in the hospital and having an open flame is not safe. Check with birthing centers and hospitals before you come in, to determine their rules.
  • There are many meditation programs and aides available in stores and online as well as classes in some areas.
  • Using a photograph, your baby's first outfit, a sonogram picture or the sound of the baby's heartbeat on the monitor may serve as a useful visualization tool. Focusing on the visual or auditory stimulus will help you to stay centered and relaxed.

About the Author

Lara Alspaugh is a registered nurse with a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Michigan State University. She is a faculty member at Lansing Community College in the nursing department. Her work can be found on ModernMom.com and SmarterBaby.com as well as many print magazines and newspapers.