There's no real way to sugar-coat it: pain is a natural part of most labours. Thankfully, the painful part gives way to the lifetime-of-joy part! But there are still a few good tips you can remember to help manage the pain as best you can...

• Moving around can help speed things along and also relieve some of the built up tension, as can a warm bath or shower
• Your partner and/or birth partner can put their massage skills to use to help provide some comfort
• Your breathing and relaxation techniques should help you get the oxygen you need for tired muscles
• If you feel you need more intervention, consult your doctor or midwife during the active phase of labour.

You can also try and practice this relaxation technique before you go into labour, using it in between your contractions:

Find a comfortable position (either sitting or lying down on your side) and use pillows to support all the curves in your body, while playing some relaxing music. Starting with your shoulders and working your way down, clench all the muscles in your shoulders and hold for 10 seconds. Take a big breath in and then give a big sighing, outward breath, letting go of all the tension. Be aware of how breathing out helps you relax. Continue to do this down your right hand and arm, left hand and arm, right foot and leg and your left foot and leg.

If you need any more tips on relaxation in preparation for labour, feel free to ring, email or chat with Deb or myself. We’re your resident Karimums midwives!

- Amanda