6. Coping Relaxation Skills for Childbirth

Use this outline to guide your study and reading. You should know the concepts outlined.  Tip: Write down or type up your understanding of everything outlined for your own records.


  • Understand the difference between pain and suffering in labor
  • List factors that increase labor pain and those that decrease pain
  • Describe breathing techniques and labor tools for comfort


Book – Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

  • Chapter 11, “Labor Pain and Options for Pain Relief”, page 202
  • Chapter 12, “Comfort Techniques for Pain Relief and Labor Progress”, page 222

A. Labor Pain

  1. Causes of labor pain
  2. Gate control theory
  3. Neuromatrix theory
  4. Pain versus suffering

B. Factors affecting pain

  1. Physical
  2. Emotional
  3. Variations

C. Discover personal coping method

  1. Relaxation
  2. Rhythm
  3. Ritual

D. Meditation

  1. Tuning in
  2. Attention focusing
  3. Visualization
  4. Focus point
  5. Vocalization
  6. Affirmations

E. Labor Tools

Resource – read: Top birth tools article

  1. Bath
  2. Shower
  3. Birth ball
  4. Fan
  5. Music
  6. Massage tools

F. Eating and Drinking

Resources to read:

Article about eating restrictions

Paper: Evidence on Eating in Labor

  1. Benefits
  2. Research shows no harm

G. Relaxation Techniques

  1. Massage
  2. Tension release
  3. Passive relaxation
  4. Touch relaxation
  5. Slow breathing
  6. Light/shallow breathing
  7. Tailored (slow/shallow) breathing
  8. Patterned/variable breathing

H. Movement and Positions

Resource – read: Article on restriction of movement 

  1. Standing
  2. Wallking
  3. Leaning
  4. Slow dancing/embracing
  5. Lunge
  6. Sitting upright
  7. Knees to chest
  8. Hands and knees
  9. Squatting

I. Techniques for Back Pain

  1. Counterpressure
  2. Double hip squeeze
  3. Knee press
  4. Rebozo
  5. TENS
  6. Sterile water block
  7. Shower/bath

J. Doula Support

Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Newborn, Chapter 2, page 20

  1. Benefits
  2. Finding a doula
  3. Interviewing a doula

Complete Module Assignment

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