During labor, relaxation methods can help childbirth progress through the early stages with less sense of pain. Breathe, massage, relax -
Breathe: the muscles of the uterus need oxygen for the hard work of pushing out the baby the natural way. When we are stressed or scared or angry we tend to hold our breathe or waste our breathe on unnecessary angry words or crying. Strong and silent isn't just for men however the breathing pattern that may help can include some rhythmic noise or chant to help with a meditative type of calm. In breath, "Ah, ah" and a longer out breathe, "oooh." Or a chant "I'm breathing in love, and breathing out peace."
Massage: As contractions progress they can be every couple minutes so there is one minute to relax and breath and one minute of the tightening of the contraction. The uterus is a round ball like muscle with baby nestled inside. Labor progresses slowly over several hours, or occasionally days, and the contractions are weaker initially but still last about a minute. The difference is in the early stages they are about fifteen to twenty minutes apart and the time between shortens over the hours until nearer delivery when there is the one minute of rest, one minute of contraction stage. It can help between contractions for the woman to massage her abdomen to help relax the muscles.
Relax: The more relaxed the rest of the body can remain, the more energy will be left for the uterus to do its work. During early stages of labor walking around or taking a shower or bath may be soothing. During later stages when the contractions are happening frequently it may help to have a labor partner breathe along with eye contact to help keep the expectant mom calm and focused on breathing instead of getting tense.
After the contractions are close together there is typically a brief stage where they stop, the cervix is opened and baby is in position to be delivered. The water sac may break at this stage which can initiate the next stage when there is an urge to push. It truly is an unmistakable urge to push (like you have to go to the bathroom right now). If the attending healthcare worker says don't push it may mean the cervix isn't fully opened. Eventually though there is a series of push, then relax, and then baby is born, and yes that part hurts but pain killing endorphins surge and the feeling of joy at the sight of the baby makes it all worth it.
Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.