If you are anything like me, then you feel that natural childbirth is the best choice for you and your baby. But the one question that keeps coming into your mind is how you will handle the pain of labor and delivery? The truth is, it’s OK to be afraid of the pain. When you are new to childbirth, it is like an unknown journey that lies ahead of you. But pain is a natural and necessary part of childbirth, and it is something that you can prepare for so that your journey is not so scary.
As you begin to get closer to your due date, you will want to form a strategy to help you deal with the pain of your natural childbirth. Here we will go over some options that can help you through your labor and have a positive experience.
The most important thing to remember is to trust yourself. You are a woman and your body was made to give birth. Know that you have the ability to birth naturally, to come through the pain and be strong.
Stay Positive & Stay Focused
There is nothing like letting fear overcome you to ruin what can be a wonderful experience. With trust in yourself and your body’s ability to birth naturally comes the positive attitude of that innate knowledge. Stay focused on what you are doing – bringing your precious baby into this world in the safest and most gently way possible.
Have A Partner You Trust
When you are in labor it is important to have a partner or support person who you trust by your side. Labor is exhausting and takes all of your energy and strength, so to have someone there to help you when you need it is imperative. A support person can bring you food and drinks, rub your back, hold your hand, help remind you to breathe, and just help make you comfortable overall. Best of all, a partner can help you to stay positive and focused on your goal of a natural birth.
When giving birth at a hospital or birth center, it will be helpful to stay at home as long as you can. When you are at home, you are in a safe environment where you are most comfortable. You are able to eat and move about as you please. This extended time at home will help keep your pain more managable while you spend time relaxing.
It is recommended to go to the hospital when your contractions are 2 – 3 minutes apart and lasting at least 60 seconds with your first baby and 4 minutes apart and 60 seconds long for subsequent births. Enjoy the time leading up to it in your favorite chair listening to soothing music, or sitting in your baby’s nursery as you envision him or her in your arms.
Movement is a wonderful tool in labor. Walking, dancing, swaying from side to side or gently rolling on a birth ball. Some woman may even rock back and forth on their hands and knees. Movement can help your labor progess and can also help you through the pain of each contraction.
One of the worst positions to labor in is stuck laying flat on your back. I can be more painful and it can also slow down your labor and decrease the flow of blood to your baby. If you are unable to get out of bed and move around, try to labor laying on your side or in a supported squat position.
Don’t be afraid to make noise. Just remember that when you are in labor, the best noise is a low moan that leaves your mouth open. You do not want to make high-pitched screaming sounds, as this will cause your body to tense and make the pain harder to bear. Keeping your mouth open helps to remind you to keep loose and to keep yourself open. It also helps you to breathe, where as screaming takes up more breath and energy. Remember, a relaxed mouth means a relaxed bottom.
As you labor, keep your breathing slow and deep. This will help you stay relaxed and stay focused. When a contraction comes on strong, remember to keep breathing. Focus on the sound of your breath and envision your body opening and getting ready to allow your baby to come through. Take each contraction, one breath at a time.
With your slow breathing comes relaxation. Even thoughyour uterus is working very hard, you can still help the rest of your body rest. This will help you keep endurance through a long labor. Relax your mind and all of the muscles in your body. Have your birth partner or support person give you a calming massage or rub your feet. It will be much easier to remember these techniques if you have already begun practicing during pregnancy. If you take a childbirth preparation class, you will go over many useful breathing and relaxation techniques that you can practice.