. Not wrong: many do not hesitate to define that of labor and childbirth as the most violent pain a woman can suffer in the course of her life. This, however, in general: obviously there is one great subjective variability in the perception of this as of other pains, and in any case today we have various strategies to contain it as much as possible.
According to all scientific studies on the subject, epidural analgesia is considered to be the most effective method for reducing pain in labor and delivery. A pharmacological but non-invasive alternative is represented by the administration of nitrous oxide, a gas with a mild euphoric, anxiolytic and analgesic effect. But there are also numerous pharmacological alternatives that can be used, which can help the woman to better cope with the pain of childbirth, drawing on all her endogenous resources to do so, and taking advantage of the moments of relaxation that exist between a contraction and the other one.
For a start it is very important that the woman has the opportunity to be accompanied in this very intense and particular moment of his life. The latest recommendations on “positive childbirth” from the World Health Organization also say it, which advises every woman to be assisted during labor and delivery by a companion of free choice: often it is the father of the child, sometimes his mother, a sister or a friend, sometimes even a doula.
They are also very important one-to-one dedicated assistance from a midwife, which however is not possible in all birth points, and the possibility for the woman to move, assuming at will the positions she deems most useful: it is taken for granted that, if she can move, the woman will look for the position that naturally leads her to experience less pain.
WHO also recommends relaxation techniques such as breathing, mindfulness, listening to music, autogenic training. “There is evidence – the organization’s document reads – that these techniques, which are absolutely safe, can reduce the discomfort and pain of labor and delivery and promote a positive birth experience ”. At the same time, however, the document stresses that effectiveness can be limited.
Same goes for strategies like massages and hot pack applications: They help some women, but their overall effectiveness may be limited. In any case, these are practices that are completely free of side effects.
Another pain containment strategy is immersion in water, not covered by the World Health Organization document but encouraged for example by the Guidelines on Childbirth Assistance of the British Institute for Clinical Excellence, published in 2014 and revised in 2017. The guidelines suggest actively offering this possibility to women in labor, recommending only to pay attention to the temperature of the water and that of the woman.
The actual usefulness of other practices such as acupuncture, hypnosis, aromatherapy, Tens, injections of sterile water. According to the latest scientific review on the subject of the Cochrane Collaboration, a major international initiative that deals with the critical analysis of information on health interventions, there is not yet enough data to be able to say that they are really useful. The British guidelines advise not to actively propose practices such as acupuncture and hypnosis, but not to prevent them if women request them, while they are more critical of Tens and sterile water injections, simply specifying that they should not be offered or used. respectively.
In an interview previously given to nostrofiglio.it, the midwife Roberta Spandrio, in force at the San Gerardo hospital in Monza and among the authors of the book Physiology of birth (Carocci, 2014, invited us not to see childbirth only as an experience of pain, recognizing instead the participation of many other feelings, which in the years to come they will always come back to your mind when you remember the moment your baby was born.
“Often there is a set of conflicting emotions: fear, but also joy for the imminent arrival of the baby, or fear of not succeeding interspersed with the feeling of being invincible “comments the midwife.” Not to mention the moments of sharing with the father, his tender or worried looks, certain very beautiful couple dynamics. “It is no coincidence that many women already a few days after the birth of their first child declare that they would gladly relive the experience of childbirth.” It would not happen if there was only evil at stake “concludes the midwife.