Whether you get the meds or not, you'll want to come armed with some natural pain-relief techniques. We're not saying it will be easy, but it's important to relax. One way? Find your happy place—we're fans of the beach and a campfire under the stars. When a painful contraction comes on, imagine yourself there, picturing every detail from your beach towel to the sound of the waves, while deeply breathing. You might also want to try music therapy with calming tunes like Enya or some other spa-like sounds, but hey, you might want to mix in some Kanye or Beyonce—or whatever else floats your boat! Appeal to your sense of smell too: We don't mean candles; we mean stuff that smells like home, like a pillow, blanket or cozy sweatshirt. Essential oils are nice as well.
When you're in labor, nothing beats a massage. Have your partner apply pressure to your lower back with his knuckles. Also helpful: some motivation. Keep baby's first outfit in plain sight to help you stay goal-oriented. The bottom line? Do what works for you. You'll learn more ideas at your birth class. Or try a HypnoBirthing class to learn additional relaxation techniques.