Movement and positions
Use gravity to help you during labour and birth. Also, empty your bladder hourly. Both, being upright and an empty bladder maximises your body’s ability to give birth.
Movement, like walking or a good wiggle may help speed up labour.
Choosing a birth partner
It is important to have the right person / people with you during labour and birth. Birth partners can be more important than pain relief.
When choosing your birth partner(s) think about:
Þ Who calms you down when your are anxious?
Þ Who has a calming influence and makes you feel loved?
Þ Who don’t you mind seeing you when you are in pain, upset, worried and naked?
Þ Who wouldn’t mind seeing you during labour and has the strength to support you during labour?
The right birth partner for you might be your partner, mother, sister a friend, a doula or more than one person. Even if you do not wish to be touched during labour, knowing that your birth partner is there might help.
You might breathe really fast or hold your breath when you are frightened. More adrenaline will be released and labour gets more painful. When you are
breathing slowly it will be easier for you to be calm and relaxed. Also your baby will be supplied with more oxygen. To calm yourself during and between contractions, take a deep breath in through your nose and sigh out slowly (S.O.S.) through your mouth.
Labour, how does it work?
Oxytocin is the hormone which triggers your contractions and keeps them coming. Oxytocin is also known as the hormone of love. At the same time, your body produces another hormone, prostaglandin, which helps softening the neck of your womb (the cervix) to help it to open up (dilate) to allow your baby to come through to be born. This is how your body makes labour happen. Your body does also produce its own painkillers, endorphins, to help you cope with labour. Endorphins not only reduce the pain you are feeling, they also reduce stress and make you feel good.
Unfortunately, fear upsets the amazing and complex process of labour. Fear, makes your body release another hormone, adrenaline. Adrenaline slows down the production of oxytocin. When you are feeling tense, your contractions are less efficient and you will feel more pain. Tension makes labour longer and more painful.
Being relaxed and calm is the key to coping with labour!
#10 Be strong for her and your baby
Finally, yes, be strong. You have got this! You can do this! The midwives will be there to support you both also. Be strong, be confident!
Thank you for following this little series. I hope you've found it helpful. All these tips have been collected from new mothers and mothers-to-be. I've asked them what they've found / would find most supportive and useful and these were the top 10 answers (in a randomised order though). I am sure you can also come up with some of your own! Take care & be strong.
#9 Reassure her.
Often all that is needed is a bit of reassurance. Being in labour and giving birth can be hard work and tiring. Reassuring words, eye contact and touch can help your partner to get through it all. You might also want to try some praise or affirmations such as "You are strong." or "You, our baby and your body can do this!"...
#8 Support her choices.
It is important that your partner feels supported in her choices. It may be beneficial to discuss her choices and agree on few prior to going in to labour. Some women choose to write a birth plan, others prefer to write down just a few preferences. If you have strong believes or preferences around certain approaches or procedures, it may be worthwhile discussing these and write them down for future reference. Only if you are aware of her preferences and know what they are about you can support her in them.
#7 Be assertive. Ask if you are not sure what is happening.
When making decisions, remember to ask your B.R.A.I.N.
What are the Benefits?
What are the Risks?
What are the Alternatives?
What do my Instincts tell me?
What if we do Nothing for a while?
Mum of four, NCT Antenatal Teacher and Birth & Beyond Practitioner, Breastfeeding Peer Supporter.
get £5 off your order at www.mama-tens.info please quote discount code JC1011