Comfort Measures

During labor, please feel free to change positions and make use of the many comfort options available. We will work with you to accommodate any requests possible.

Your labor nurse can offer suggestions if you are having difficulty finding a position that works for you.

Prenatal Education

There are hundreds of ways to increase your comfort during labor, but one of the most important begins before you enter the hospital.

We recommend that all moms, including those who have given birth previously, seek out prenatal education by attending childbirth classes or by speaking to an OB/GYN, midwife, or doula.

By knowing what to expect, you will increase your confidence in your body’s natural ability to give birth, reduce stress, and teach your birth partner how best to support you. 

Even if this isn’t your first pregnancy, no two births are alike. Prenatal education can serve as a refresher or teach you about options that you may not be aware of.

Prenatal classes also discuss strategies to help with the discomforts of the last trimester, so please register early to get the most benefit from classes.


Walking helps to move your baby through the pelvis and allows your uterus to work more efficiently. Women who move during labor often report that they have an increased sense of control and experience greater comfort than when lying in bed.

With remote fetal monitoring, you can move away from your bedside and do whatever you need to make yourself comfortable without interrupting your healthcare. Your labor and delivery nurses will continue to monitor your contractions and your baby’s heart rate with two small wireless monitors worn with either elastic belts or an elastic cloth around the abdomen. 

Remote fetal monitoring is available at both Mercy Hospital of Buffalo and Sisters of Charity Hospital.

Squatting Bars & Peanuts

Squatting uses gravity to help your baby down the birth canal and increases the pelvic diameter. It can also shorten the second phase of labor (the pushing phase).

To achieve a squatting position without fatigue, you may use a squatting bar that attaches to your hospital bed. You will sit on the bed as if it were a chair and use the bar for support as you squat to push.

If you would like to use a squatting bar, please notify your nurse.

Birthing Balls

The act of sitting and bouncing on a birthing ball opens the birth canal and allows gravity to assist in the birth. The ball also enables moms to change positions more easily, and the natural back and forth swaying movement encourages the relaxation of muscles to relieve pain and stress.

Birthing balls may be used in any of our birthing rooms. If you are interested in using birthing balls, please notify your nurse.

Jacuzzis, Birthing Tubs, & Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy relaxes the muscles and decreases the pain of contractions. To be eligible for hydrotherapy, patients must meet certain medical criteria and both mom and baby must be medically stable.

Mercy Hospital: At Mercy Hospital, patients who do not have an epidural may use one of four jacuzzis to provide pain relief and promote relaxation during labor. Jacuzzi rooms are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. If the jacuzzi rooms are occupied, each of our birthing rooms has a shower, which makes hydrotherapy possible.

Mount St. Mary's Hospital: Patients who do not have an epidural may use our jacuzzi to provide pain relief and promote relaxation during labor. There is one jacuzzi room, available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each of our birthing rooms has a water massage shower, which makes hydrotherapy possible.

Sisters Hospital: Although jacuzzis are not available at Sisters Hospital, if you would like to bring a birthing tub, our staff will work with you to accommodate. Please contact us to make arrangements.

Pain Management

Narcotic pain medications, which include Nubain and Demerol, reduce your ability to feel pain.

They are given in small doses through a needle or an IV and do not interfere with your ability to push during labor. 

These medications are not generally used at the end of labor, as they may make the baby drowsy, but they are very effective in earlier labor when rest is needed.


Epidurals reduce the sensation in the lower half of your body. Most women report relief from the pain of contractions. 

For women who continue to feel contractions, the anesthesiologist may need to adjust medications or reinsert the epidural. 

Although you will need to remain in bed after an epidural, frequent position changes for comfort are strongly encouraged. Your nurse will help you move into whatever position is most comfortable and best for your labor.

Because an epidural is localized, you will be fully alert and may even be able to rest as your cervix dilates.