Many mothers considering a VBAC, especially if their prior cesarean was scheduled, are concerned about how they will cope with the pain of labor. Some fear that having an epidural will complicate labor and lead to additional interventions that will lower their odds for having a vaginal birth.
Non-drug methods of pain relief including continuous emotional support from a doula are beneficial for mothers and babies and do not cause harm.
- What options for pain relief are you considering?
- Try to use non-drug methods of pain relief and comfort measures before using drugs for pain relief.
- You may want to use music, aromatherapy, visualisation, rhythmic breathing and relaxation, yoga or hypnobirthing techniques.
- Find out about touch therapy, massage, a water birth, acupressure or acupuncture, water injections, and TENS (electrical stimulation).
If you want an epidural:
- Try to wait until your cervix is dilated to 4-5 centimeters before it is given to you.
- To help the baby move through your pelvis and rotate for birth, try changing positions slowly while in bed every 20 to 30 minutes during labor. You may need some help.
- When you are fully dilated, you may need to wait an hour or more before you feel you’re ready for active pushing.
- You may want to rest or sleep until you feel rectal pressure strong enough to push on your own.
- You may want to wait until the numbness of the epidural wears off before pushing. With an epidural you may need up to three hours to push your baby out.
Find out more about coping with the pain of labor from Module 7 of Deciding if VBAC Is Right for You: A Parent’s Guide.