Having a toolkit of natural pain relief methods for labour and birth is essential no matter what type of birth you are planning- and also when you are intending to have medical pain relief too.


Well, for many woman, they are planning to use some form of medical pain relief, but would like tools to use until they get to the point of asking for drugs. Or what if you don’t have access immediately to the pain relief you would like? This could be due to a variety of reasons such as staff shortages, labour progressing quicker than expected etc. 

And for some, they are planning to birth their baby without the use of pharmaceutical pain relief. All intervention comes with benefits and risks, so many prefer not to use that doing their birth. Having a variety of tools to use to help keep you comfortable during labour, the more comfortable you may feel. I know when I was pregnant I felt much more confident knowing I had options of ways to keep comfortable in labour. Many of these tools I used myself and found them essential parts of my labours. 

Here is my list of top natural pain relief methods for labour

Woman in labour holding a comb for pain relief-natural pain relief for labour


Totally overlooked, but understanding how to breathe properly in labour can be hugely powerful. Long, slow deep breathing gives you something to focus on, helps produces Oxytocin, floods your body with oxygen which goes to your uterus muscle and your baby, and helps keep your body relaxed, which is essential for a more comfortable birth.

Breathing is often the first thing woman reach for during their labour.


Having a relaxed body in labour means your uterus muscle, which is working so hard to birth your baby, can work more efficiently and more comfortably. It keeps you in your system of calm, which allows adequate blood and oxygen flow, and allows your birthing hormones to flow in abundance.


Free, instinctive movement in labour is an essential part of keeping your body comfortable. Pain in childbirth is actually there for a reason- it is telling your body to move into positions that provide you relief, which in turns helps create more space for your baby to find their way through your body and be born.


Water in labour can provide a great level of comfort. Whether that’s a bath or shower in early labour to help you relax, a strong shower on your back to distract you from the power of your contractions, or a birth pool to labour and birth your baby and have a water birth, it is a hugely effective natural pain relief for labour.

If you are hoping to use a birth pool, you may want to check at your local hospital what is available. I know at the Rushey Birth Centre at Royal Berkshire Hospital, there are 2 rooms with birth pools in, so you may not be able to guarantee the use of one.


A tens machine can be a great tool to use in labour- many find it a great distraction from the powerful sensations they are feeling. A huge benefit of TENS is that you can be fully mobile, you have a “boost” button to increase the intensity during a contraction, and you can just stop using it if you don’t like it. You can’t use it in water so just take it off before getting in the birth pool.


Your Hypnobirthing practise begins in pregnancy before your labour starts, and this preparation that you put in in pregnancy will help you approach your labour with a strong mindset, and will help with any fears you may have around your birth. By alleviating those fears in pregnancy, it means you can approach your birth in a relaxed way, and get the benefits of the above point.

Find out more about my Hypnobirthing Courses


Massage can be comforting, distracting and help you to release any tension you are holding. This could be the light touch massage we practise on a course, a lovely firm back massage, or even a hand or foot massage.

A comb.

Yes, you read that right. Using a acupressure comb in labour will provide distraction, a sense of control and can hit relaxation points in your hand.  It also works on the control gate theory- that your brain can only focus on a few sensations at a time, so by squeezing the comb you distract your brain away from the sensations of labour and onto the sensations in your hand!

Your environment.

Having the right environment to labour in is in itself a natural form of pain relief for labour. How so? When you feel safe, secure, and private, you are able to produce the amazing cocktail of hormones needed to birth your baby. One of them being endorphins, which are your bodies natural pain reliever, and if they were able to be bottled, they are said to be many many times stronger than morphine. So get the environment right for everything else to work.

Physical touch.

Physical touch- hugging, kissing, stroking touch, loving words all help you feel more comfortable in labour. Not only are they going to help you feel safe and secure, they can increase your bodies endorphins and oxytocin. Your bodies natural Oxytocin crosses the blood- brain barrier so it literally makes you feel great! And helps power those all important contractions!

online antenatal course

Whether you intend to have all the drugs available to you, or none at all, having a toolbar of things to keep you comfortable issuing to make a huge difference to your labour and birth. It will give you a sense of power and control, make you feel more informed and confident, all which will help lead to a positive experience. I highly recommend researching the benefits and risks of any pain relief available to you, so you understand your options and what’s right or not for you.

Why not join my next online antenatal course, or my Hypnobirthing course in Newbury, where we cover all of this and SO much more!!!

A recent study by T Uldal at al, 2023 looking into woman’s experience with hypnobirthing highlights that :

  • “Hypnobirth classes offered a perspective on birth as a meaningful and existential event.
  • Knowledge of physiological processes gave women confidence and trust in their labouring body
  • Hypnosis techniques helped maintain a focus on the birthing process and a sense of control.
  • The preparations resulted in a good childbirth experience, regardless of the course of events.”

Study source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877575623000800

Daisy Blumberg- Hypnobirthing expert smiling at the camera

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