Five Drug-Free Pain Relief Options for Labour and Childbirth (2023)

Five Drug-Free Pain Relief Options for Labour and Childbirth

Going into labour and having the perfect birthing plan takes a lot of time and preparation. There is tons of advice floating around over the web and undoubtedly friends and family will have advice to share with you as well, however, there is no one solution that fits all. All women are different and should be celebrated as such.

We have compiled a list of 5 drug-free pain relief options during childbirth so you can decide how to feel better naturally.


Often to numb out the pain we try to shift our focus somewhere else. This is the foundation of the hypnotherapy approach. In its essence, the practice is self-hypnosis that relies on finding distractions that provide support. In succeeding to do so, tension, pain and fright will be numbed by concentration.

The thought behind this drug-free pain relief method is based on a study that proves correlation of fear and muscle tension. Entering labour being frightened will force your body raise adrenaline levels, which will in turn cause tension of the cervix and muscles.

Unlike most drug-free pain relief in labour practices, hypnotherapy doesn’t rely on outside forces and gives you full control over its effectivity. Common practices to prepare women for childbirth such as breathing and visualisation classes are aimed at usage of hypnotherapy.

TENS Machine

TENS translates into Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation and is a medically proven drug-free pain relief measure, widely used in different stages of labour. A Maternity TENS machine is a small stimulator that runs on a battery. It sends barely noticeable electric impulses to override the pain signals to your brain through your skin, using self-adhesive pads.

TENS machines are most effective when used in early labour; they not only help you manage your contractions but also give you support in maintaining mobility. TENS equipment can be used by virtually anybody, with an exception to those suffering from epilepsy, heart rhythm disorders or those using a pacemaker.


Humans generally find comfort in touch. And, of course, physical contact is just as important in labour. A touch of someone dear naturally makes us relax. Muscle tension is what stops production of endorphins, thus making contractions more painful than they should be.

Studies and research shows that women that were massaged during childbirth had shorter labours and had a lower probability of developing postnatal depression. Additionally, they weren’t as anxious and had experienced less pain. Other findings showed that something as little as handholding or patting does miracles to one’s ability to cope.

Water Birth

When it comes to drug-free pain relief in labour, water birth is one of the oldest practices. Our affinity to water begins in the womb, where we spend 9 months in water, and thus babies can swim upon being born – and it is genetically ingrained in us to naturally relax when our body is submerged.

Even in labour water is able to help you relax, and thus release more endorphins that contribute towards relaxation and taking the edge off of pain. Being relaxed means having more control over your pacing and reserving energy for when you actually need it.


Last but not the least on our list of drug-free pain relief methods is reflexology. It is an alternative medicine practice consisting of applying pressure on different spots of one’s feet to stimulate various body parts.

It is usually done by a trained specialist that knows the right spots to stimulate which helps by releasing hormones that can speed up labour. This can be practised either as a one-off or continued in timed intervals, contributing towards a feeling of calm and helping ease the pain.

It is important that all expectant mothers consult with their health care practitioners when deciding on the right pain-relief option for them, ultimately it is about selecting the right environment and solution that will help you feel better naturally and assist you in welcoming your new bundle of joy.

Blog provided by TensTalk with TensCare.