I wrote this post because a friend’s sister was in early labour and I got a text asking what advice could I give her as her sister was really worried and I do birth stuff right?
The Anxious Annie in me screams ‘PREPARE’! But there is still so much you can do even in early labour. Whether you’ve done loads of prep and want a refresh or you want to be assured that there is still alot you can do to help yourself during your birth. Here are five real easy but effective things you can do.
1. Have an active labour.
Walk around. Stand up – use your partner as support, maybe with slightly bent legs. Kneel on the bed – or against the bed, or on the ball. Squat (sounds uncomfortable but it really isn’t when there is a head there, the midwives can help advice). Use the birthing ball – sitting rotating your hips or lent over. On all fours – I birthed like this alternating instinctively between all fours and kneeling. Get in the waterpool (as water is great at supporting positions). And change it up. Use different positions, move as your body wants to move and listen to your body. If you are uncomfortable or labour has slowed it could be as easy as changing positions.
Why they even still show women on telly giving birth on their backs I don’t know. Your midwives will no doubt encourage this too as upright births use gravity and allow your body to move in the best way to promote dilation and the decent of your baby. So upright is really the optimal position for birth and you will experience less pain then if you were on your back. Not to mention that your pelvis is 30%smaller when you are lying down or semi reclining!
Even if you’ve no previous experience with hypnosis/meditation you can still benefit from some relaxation during labour.
Put on some relaxing music (can be anything, not just whale song, but anything as long as it’s not too fast or aggressive – whatever suits your taste).
Close your eyes, take a deep breathe, then concentrating on your breathing (don’t change it – just bring your thoughts to your breath), take yourself somewhere nice in your mind. It can be a beach, a wood, your bed, somewhere you’ve fond memories or somewhere you’ve made up. Visualise it, feel the sheets on your body, the sand on your feet, and the air on your face. Listen to the music and relax.
Do this during your birth as much as possible focusing on the relaxing, floppy feeling over your whole body and think of your body energised with each inhalation and softening and opening with each exhalation.
3. Breathe your baby out
Or a better way to describe this is no forced pushing. You don’t get fully dilated and just start pushing before you are ready. You may get the urge to push – go with it. Listen to your body. It maybe quick visual loud intense movements or it maybe a longer calmer quieter process. Soften your body, relax, listen to your body, use the outbreath to make a low pitched noise or to move your lips, or hum like we teach on the Wise Hippo, don’t be scared to push if you feel the need to. Be patient and allow your body to birth your baby and keep calm and as soft as possible. You will meet your baby really soon.
This means different things to different people. There is no right or wrong here. It maybe that you don’t feel comfortable with your breasts out in the waterpool (so feel free to wear a top), that you want a blanket for your legs or that you would like the lights dimmed (as one wonderful midwife did for me). If there are too many people in the room ask (or get your birth partner to ask) that you would like a little more privacy (with a smile of course). Birth is an intimate moment and just like going to the toilet or having sex you need privacy.
Let your birth partner know in advance what you want from them (even if this is a quick pep talk during early labour) or show them this post and say ‘That’. Let them know where the biscuits are and to offer you drinks. Let them know what you want them to do if you’re going to hospital (giving birth plan to midwife, getting your favourite cushion out or setting up music). Let them know how they can help you if you need it – If they see you having a hard time ask them to rub your back. Or they can say things like ’you’re doing well.’ ‘Close your eyes and relax. Or just a simple ’I love you’ (whatever feels right for them).
These are just five little things that, even if you are reading this in the car to the birth centre, I think could really help your labour. Happy birthing and congratulations on your little baby.
Love Michelle xoxo