Phoenix Private & Prenatal Yoga Teacher, Doula, Childbirth Educator

Nurturing Joyous Life

Emily Carden: Private & Prenatal Yoga Teacher, Birth Doula, Postpartum Doula and Childbirth Educator in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe, AZ

Comfort Measures: For Labor & For Life

There is a lot of preparation these days for childbirth. Many parents-to-be enroll in multiple week series of childbirth education classes, newborn care classes, CPR, breastfeeding, quietly obsessing over their "birth plan", grasping at control over any part of the process. A great deal of time is also spend pouring over registries, trying to find all of the right products for every need that may arise. And yet, amidst all of this, there is very little talk of how to manage pain and discomfort, how to self soothe and how to get your mind right for managing the actual physical act of laboring a baby down and out and recovering from that. But, isn't that actually the point; the most important part of it all?!

In order to really do this thing, this childbirth thing, we have to know about comfort measures. And "comfort measures" is not just a term we should use for the tools and techniques we may use for managing pain in labor. Comfort measures are life skills. Comfort measures are self-soothing techniques. And in life, we are all already self-soothing, every single second of the day. We are trying to keep ourselves in balance, manage physical or mental discomforts and distractions, and maintain some semblance of our sanity to get through this very difficult journey called life. Some of us are able to successfully self soothe with things like breathing, or warm baths or a nap. Others of us need to up the ante to things like spending sprees, or alcohol or recreational drugs. Either way, it's all self-soothing, it's all "comfort measures". And the ones we choose are usually just defaults because we don't know any other way. No one ever taught us how to self-soothe or really what it even means!


In childbirth, probably the most important and valuable thing you can do is start to learn about the variety of comfort measures available to you in life. In pregnancy, you have a great opportunity to explore the innumerable tools and techniques for managing pain and discomfort and when you introduce these things in your daily life, you then become more likely to not only use them in labor but for them to actually be effective. Essentially, you have to practice comfort measures! That is what makes them more successful.

So where does one go in adulthood to learn about comfort measures and maybe make some changes in their typical discomfort management techniques? Well, actually, in pregnancy, there's a great deal of choices out there! It's the best time to start to learn this kind of stuff, not only for yourself, but so you can teach your kid this very valuable life skill. Starting to make changes in your lifestyle at this critical time in your life will pay dividends for generations to come!

Here in LA you can check out BINI Birth, Silver Lake Yoga and Gracefull Birthing Center for the most comprehensive and helpful classes for managing pain and discomfort!