8 Options for a Drug-free Delivery

By Stephanie Forslund, RN St. Luke’s Birthing Center

If you’re hoping to deliver without any medications, we are absolutely committed to supporting you in this goal throughout your labor. While this kind of birth isn’t for everyone (and that’s totally ok!), there are plenty of non-medicated ways to help manage your pain if you’re dreaming of a natural delivery.

Here are 8 non-medicated pain management options you have when delivering at St. Luke’s.

  1. Labor tubs: Hot water helps to soothe and calm while relieving some weight. Plus, our tubs have jets and are deep enough to cover pregnant bellies.
  2. Remote telemetry: The freedom to get up, walk around and move during labor is a big benefit for moms, and remote telemetry makes this possible. Basically, this monitoring system allows your healthcare team to keep track of you and your baby’s heart rates, and your contractions without you having to be hooked up to a machine. So, you can walk the halls and try different positions to help work through your labor.
  3. Aromatherapy: We have a certified aromatherapist at the Birthing Center and each member of our nursing staff has been trained to offer suggestions based on your preferences. That means you can be surrounded by the soothing scent of essential oils during your entire stay.
  4. CUB Birthing Stools: Moms can use inflatable birthing stools to rest, sit and lean on both during labor and delivery.
  5. Birthing balls: These are a great tool for relieving back pain, encouraging pelvic mobility, helping baby descend, and more. Moms can also use these to find comfortable positions that will help along the labor process. Peanut-shaped birthing balls can also go between your legs to offer relief while lying on your side.
  6. Massage and touch: A back rub or just holding your partner’s hand can do wonders during the laboring process. That’s because affectionate touch sends pain-reducing messages to the brain. Our team is always happy to offer ideas on how a partner can help in this way.
  7. Coaching: Our team aims to honor your preferences, and will coach you through labor with positivity and compassion.
  8. Breathing techniques: Patterned breathing helps moms stay focused and calm. This technique also brings more oxygen to baby and helps contract the uterus.


Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas) is also available to laboring moms. While this pain management option is a drug, it works fast and leaves your system quickly, making it a minimally invasive option. It can be used throughout labor, as needed, and is administered by you so that you’re in control.

Making a birth plan is a great way to think through your pain management preferences. Of course, our priority is the health and safety of you and your baby. If plans change or if there’s a reason to alter your birth plan, we’ll let you know what your options are and work with you so you feel confident and comfortable.

If you have any questions about a drug-free delivery, talk to your doctor. If you haven’t selected a doctor or midwife yet, get to know our expert team of OB-GYNs, Nurse Midwives and Family Practitioners and schedule with someone you can connect with.

St. Luke’s Birthing Center is located in Duluth, MN, with St. Luke’s clinics in the surrounding region, including Superior, WI. To schedule a tour of St. Luke’s Birthing Center, call 218.249.5605.


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