3. Bright lights, Noise, People, Gowns, Sterilised Rooms – Pain is increased by stress. Labor can be even more painful and even slow down when surrounded by people you don’t know, bright lights and stark white hospital colors. Although this is what many women expect, there’s no reason you can’t bring along your own favorite music, pillows, dim the lights and request a minimal number of medical staff.
4. No Food or Drink – A common misconception is that it’s dangerous to eat or drink during labor. The risks of dehydration and exhaustion are rarely mentioned – because labor really is a marathon and you need energy to complete it. A woman will naturally stop eating as labor progresses but it’s important that she be allowed to drink – dehydration can make labor more painful, among other risks. Read more.
5. Induction or Augmentation – Although induction of labor and augmentation can be needed for medical reasons, they also raise the risks and pain levels of labor. This is why it’s a good idea to avoid induction before 42 weeks without a good reason. Artificial rupture of membranes (AROM) and Pitocin drips can both make labor more intense and painful than during a spontaneous and non-augmented labor.
6. Offering Drugs – Although some women do choose pain relief, either from the start or partway through labor, these aren’t always foolproof. Some women react to some types of pain relief with hallucinations and nausea. Epidurals may fail, may work on only half the body or may wear off before labor gets intense if given too early. The pain of labor after failed pain relief can be much more intense than planned natural labor.1 | 2 | 3