Planning a Natural birth? or Planning to get an Epidural during the Late Stages of Labor? Here a 6 tips to help you succeed!.
Even as a mother of two, I know every birth and pregnancy is different. I have experienced a very long labor and a relatively quick one. I had a hospital birth with an epidural and home birth completely un-medicated. In both experiences my goal was to try to have a birth without much medical intervention. With my eldest daughter I labored 4 days at home. I am certain that had I gone to the hospital earlier I would have been a prime candidate for a cesarean. With my second daughter my labor was much faster, partly because my body was more adjusted the second time around and also because I used these techniques to help ensure my planned home birth was a success.
Even if you aren’t planning to go Au Naturale, these tips will help prolong the need for an epidural, which will decrease your chances of cesarean.
- Take a Class
Taking a class will educate and equip you with the tools and confidence you need to have your ideal birth. By class, I do not mean the two hour class you take at the hospital, you know the one where they ask you to bring a pillow and sit down on the floor and say “oooh oooh aaaah aaah” for 30 seconds and send you on your way. I suggest taking an in-depth, multi-week class that will inform you about all of the miracles that take place during your pregnancy and birth. Classes like Hypnobirthing and The Bradley Method are wonderful and jam packed with information and actual techniques that you can practice before your birth. These classes are a little pricey but they are well worth it. Pass on that expensive diaper bag and splurge on educating yourself about this life altering event.
By now you know how important exercise is while you are pregnant and especially in your third trimester, but exercise during your labor is just as necessary. You read that correctly, EXERCISE DURING LABOR. Walking around your neighborhood or up and down the stairs in your home will help open your body and encourage baby to move into the correct position. Try to move around for 20 minutes every hour until your contractions require your full focus. Have your partner, loved one, or Doula walk around with you, you can rest and use them for support during your contractions.
In order for the body to function it must have fuel, that fuel is food. Food nutrients are necessary for normal organ function and muscle contraction. Guess What? Your uterus grows to be the largest muscle in your body during pregnancy, and uterine contractions need their fuel. Try stashing snacks like popsicles, pretzels, fruit and nuts in your fridge and around your house. While you are WALKING you can grab a small bite for energy. Try snacking during the early stages of labor, it will be easier to keep everything down.
- Cover The Clock
I have often heard labor being compared to running a marathon, and I can see how they share some similarities. However unlike a marathon looking at your watch will not help you to pace yourself for a faster birth. IMO birthing is not difficult solely because it’s painful or uncomfortable, birthing is difficult because you have to experience that kind of discomfort for hours. A short labor can be six hours, and long one can be a few days, looking at the clock will only remind you of how long you have already been uncomfortable, and that can be very discouraging. So don’t look at it, in fact cover it and hide it from your view. If you are wanting to time contractions use a timer or ask your partner to help you. Try and let the time just pass, listen to music, watch a movie, meditate but do not, I repeat DO NOT look at the clock.
Yes I know, I’m preaching to the choir, but remembering to drink water can be difficult when you are focused on getting through contractions. Also you might have to go to the restroom A LOT during labor. Try keeping water bottles all over your house, whenever you spot one take a sip or ask your partner to remind you every hour to drink something. Keep in mind that while you are in labor your baby is still dependent on you for nutrients and water. Baby has quite the arduous journey as well, so keep her hydrated.
- Be Your Own Cheerleader
This may seem silly but this is perhaps the most important tip of all. Belief in your baby, your body and its ability to do what is was created for is imperative for a natural or vaginal birth. You and your baby have been preparing for birth for NINE whole months and you were born with everything you need to be successful. Affirm to yourself over and over and over again that you are strong and capable of having the birth of your choosing. Only a small fraction of women (about 10%) are unable to give birth without the help of medical intervention. So the odds are definitely in your favor. Encourage yourself during your labor and pregnancy and avoid conversations, situations, and media outlets that contradict this thinking. YOU CAN DO IT! Have a beautiful birth.