Move Through your Contractions

What’s the number one thing everyone wants to learn about childbirth?  

How to get through the contractions!  

We’ve already talked about how to rest deeply and the importance of the time in between contractions. Now we’re going to talk about the key to coping with the intensity during contractions.

Tension is a normal reaction to pain, but holding tension in your body throughout labor can lead to exhaustion and diverts energy away from the uterus. While it’s normal to experience some tension with your contraction, you will not hold nearly as much tension if you are moving your body.


Moving your body = moving the tension.  

Being still = stuck tension, more pain

Movement = Less Pain

This works regardless of the position you’re in or the type of breathing you do.  It’s very simple: moving rhythmically will help you cope with the intensity of your contractions.

It’s easiest to do rhythmic movement in an upright, active position such as standing and swaying, sitting on the birth ball, or being on hands and knees. But, you can integrate rhythmic movement even if you have to be lying down for some medically indicated reason.  You can rock your hips, or move your feet or even rock your shoulders back and forth during the contraction.  

Any movement in the body that is intentionally rhythmic will help you to cope.


I like to encourage birthing parents to let their breath be the guide for their rhythm. In other words, allowing your body movement to be in sync with your breath will be helpful. Partners and support people can also attune to the birthing parent by matching their own breath and movements with the birthing parent’s rhythm.

After rhythmic movement through a contraction, get into a position to rest deeply and soften.  

Move through your contractions.
Rest deeply in between them.


To learn more about coping with contractions, register for the Nona Mindful Birth Education Series.  To learn more and to practice this technique through yoga and discussion register for the Nona Yoga & Support Series.