Childbirth has been approached in many different ways since the beginning of time. Of course, for most women in the world even today, an unmedicated, "natural" childbirth continues to be the only choice.

Over the years, there have been many methods used to deal with labor, ranging from relaxation techniques to being completely unconscious. The modern mother in a westernized country has more choices than ever before.

Generally speaking, the choices can be divided into two groups: Assistance through medication or other substances, and assistance through relaxation, focusing techniques, acupuncture, and other non-chemical solutions.

Obviously, if you require a Cesarean section, you will have some sort of anesthetic

Some circumstances require a general anesthetic, but most times, you can be awake and aware for a c-section birth.

With a vaginal birth, the choice is usually up to you. Take a look at the following methods and then do some more research to know which choice is right for you:

Medical Anesthetic

Partial anesthetics

include several types, but most involve injecting medication into the spinal area, lessening discomfort or completely blocking sensation from the waist down.

Relaxation/Focusing Methods

McMoyler Method

This method utilizes education, exercise, and a focus on a healthy result for both mom and baby. More stress is put on the time in between contractions, as a chance to regroup and recharge, instead of paying attention only to the contractions themselves.


This method—the most popular of the non-medication types—is a combination of relaxation and distraction from the pain of labor through concentration, patterned breathing and focusing on a picture or partner's face.


This method encourages natural solutions, husband participation and focuses mainly on relaxation. One tenet of this method is that the expectation that labor will be painful causes it to be more so.


This method employs self-hypnosis to enter a state of calm and relaxation, lessening pain caused by tension.

Some others you may want to investigate are the Kitzinger Method, the Gamper Method, the Alexander Technique, Imagery, the Simkins method, the Noble method, the LeBoyer method, and the Odent method.

In choosing a method, also consider your preference for where you give birth, with what assistance (doctor, midwife, or doula) and what positions you favor as one type of birth method may be better than another in that regard.

Whatever you choose, remember that with childbirth, information is your ally. Educating yourself on the process and many options available to you will demystify the event. Taking away some of the uncertainty will make this great life step smoother, and you can start your new life with your little one with greater peace and assurance.

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