Relaxing your body

Relaxing your body

You are preparing for labor when you practice your relaxation techniques. Being tense and resisting contractions will make labor harder because it wastes energy. Tensing muscles will make them sore and will make labor more painful.

Practicing your relaxation skills during pregnancy will improve your ability to relax during labor. Things that are important for you to know about the way you relax are:

  • how to make your body comfortable
  • what rate and depth of breathing feels most relaxing
  • what items or activities help you relax, such as listening to music, rocking or having a special pillow
  • what your partner or a labor companion can do to help you relax

Review your responses on the relaxation worksheet.

One of the good things about staying home in early labor is that you can use the comfort of your home to help you relax. After you arrive at the hospital, take time to make the room comfortable.

Ask about various comfort options your hospital may have to help you relax. Most offer music, aromatherapy and massage.

When you are in labor, you will want to use your relaxation techniques to help you stay calm and focused through the early part of labor. You can use your relaxing breathing and other techniques both during and between contractions.

Source: Allina Health Patient Education, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, eighth edition, ob-ah-90026
First Published: 10/04/2002
Last Reviewed: 12/06/2021