Giving birth without pain relief

As you may of seen in some media outlets, a (very few) hospitals nationwide have suspended the use of gas and air in labour due to over exposure to staff members. This has led to many woman feeling really concerned, and wondering how the can give birth without pain relief.

Firstly, please be reassured that very few hospitals have done this- give your midwife a call to see if you might be effected. 

There are many reasons a woman may choose not to use medical pain relief in labour, and that is absolutely your choice. It is also absolutely your choice if you know you want ALL the pain relief. There is no wrong way, as long as you feel supported. 


This post is purely about the many things you can do in labour to help keep you more comfortable, so that you may give birth without pain relief if that is your wish. Or, you may think you will use pain relief but actually find that its not needed!

I myself have given birth 3 times without any pain relief, so I have experienced a non medicated birth first hand, and I know how intense, powerful and empowering it is. I’m here to share my tips with you, through this post, through my social media, and through my Hypnobirthing classes. 

waterbirth great western hospital

Top tips for giving birth without pain relief- from a Hypnobirthing teacher and Mum of 3

  • Educate yourself. Understanding birth, understanding what is happening and why, makes the strong sensations of labour so much easier to handle.
  • Acceptance- labour pain is there for a reason. It helps to release the right hormones, encourages you to move positions so that baby can find an easier way to be born.
  • Hypnobirthing! Of course I am going to include this- but learning Hypnobirthing and then practising the techniques  will be a game changer in your labour.
  • Breathe. Don’t underestimate the power of your breath. Controlled, slow breathing keeps your body oxygenated, which keeps you more comfortable. It also helps you stay in your system of calm which enables labour to be more efficient and comfortable.
  • Boost your happy hormones- your endorphins. These are your bodies natural pain reliever and are shown to be many times stronger than morphine. Massage, loving touch, laughing, movement all help. 
  • Use a TENS machine. A brilliant bit of kit that is portable, can be used on your journey, and in any birthing location. Allows you to control the intensity and to remain fully active. 
  • Movement. On the note above- remaining active and moving instinctively will encourage your body to go into the positions that allow baby an easier birth, and allow yourself to be much more comfortable. 
  • Gripping a comb! Yes, you read that one correctly. Gripping a comb has been shown to break up pain signals from the brain, and works as a really effective tool. Check out The Wave Comb to pop in your birth bag.
  • Water. A randomised controlled trial showed that woman who use water in labour are less likely to need medical pain relief, experience less pain and are happier with their birth. Get in that birth pool, or even in the shower!

The above are all things I used personally in my labours, and all things I teach my couples on my courses. They made the world of difference to my births with baby no 2 and 3. I can honestly say that although I did experience pain, I did not require anything external to relieve that pain. I knew I had everything I needed, and knew how to cope with the intense sensations I was experiencing. 

To learn more about birth, and to become fully prepared for your birth, whatever way it looks or unfolds, join us on my next group course, running in person in Newbury and available to join live, online. 

giving birth without pain relief

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