December 12, 2023

Mental Endurance Challenges for Giving Birth

Do you want to give birth without the use of medication? Giving birth can be quite difficult if you are not well-prepared physically or mentally. We have some tips to help you prepare your mind for the upcoming labor and delivery and be sure to check out our previous blog post on How to Prepare Your Body for Labor.

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable 

Most pregnant people learn coping techniques to prepare for childbirth, but something that is often missing from their education is the chance to apply the skills they've learned. Nobody is good at everything they do the first time they do it, which is why practice is so important. While being in labor is not something we can practice, what we can practice is getting comfortable with being uncomfortable

Labor is comparable to marathons in more ways than one. It will test not only your physical strength but your endurance as well as your mental strength. With these challenges, your goal is to push the limits of your brain to be able to tolerate feelings of unpleasantness and discomfort. What's great about these challenges is that you will be able to go into labor more prepared, you get to try out your coping skills and find what works best for you, and you will discover you are capable of getting through hard things. 

Brain Freeze

Okay, okay. You don't actually need to give yourself a brain freeze, but you can try holding an ice cube in your closed fist or turning the shower water to cold for one minute. While you are doing this challenge, remind yourself that although you may be uncomfortable, you can get through it. Anyone can hold an ice cube for one minute or get through a cold shower. Repeat this phrase: I can do anything for one minute and before you know it, you will be done.

If you are wondering why you only need to do this challenge for one minute, it’s because most contractions only last for one minute. Some contractions may be longer or shorter, but one minute is a good standard and as this challenge gets easier, you can increase the time spent during the challenges if you want. 

Wall Sits

Wall sits are difficult even when you're not pregnant, so just start with however long you can do them for and build the duration over weeks or months. If you are attempting a wall sit for the first time in a while, or ever, it’s always a good idea to attempt this particular challenge with a partner to support you. Your partner is there to assist you if you cannot get up or if you fall, but they can also give you words of encouragement to help you through. As you do this challenge, try to tell yourself “Just three more seconds,” and see how long you can make it. Wall sits are great during pregnancy not only for the mental endurance challenge but for building lower back and glute strength as well.

If wall sits are just not for you, prenatal yoga is a great alternative to work your muscles and provide you with a chance to work your mental endurance. 


Meditation is great for a variety of reasons including-

  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Induces deep relaxation 
  • Teaches mindfulness
  • Clears the mind

If you are new to meditating, you’ll want to start when you have minimal distractions. Get into a comfortable position, close your eyes, and begin breathing deeply. Pay attention to the way each inhale and exhale feels as your breath makes it’s way in your nose, down your throat as it fills your lungs, and travels back out through your mouth. If your mind wanders as you meditate, that’s okay, just redirect your attention back to your breathing. After about of a minute of deep breathing, bring your focus to your body. What do you feel against your skin? Do you feel tension in any particular spot? Breathe in warmth and relaxation, breathe out anxieties and tension. 

For your first couple of sessions, keep it short (about five minutes) because it can be difficult to keep your mind focused for extended periods of time. The more you meditate, the easier it will be and the longer you will be able to meditate for. Eventually, you will be able to meditate under any circumstances and then you can pair meditation with holding an ice cube or while doing a wall sit. 

For more information on how to prepare your body and mind for giving birth unmedicated, contact our midwives today!

Dakota Collins
Dakota Collins is a freelance writer and stay-at-home mother of two precious little girls who is passionate about freedom in pregnancy and childbirth.
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