If you’ve not given birth before then the prospect of labour can seem daunting – but our bodies are designed to give birth. The best way to manage labour is to relax, stop thinking and to go with your body’s natural urges. I call this coming into the ‘birth zone” allowing yourself to focus completely on your breath – lengthening the exhale, quietening the mind and staying upright as long as you can. And if you’re still not sure then book into one of my pregnancy yoga courses and it will all seem pretty simple – honest!
- Please remember this is a general guide
Stages: 1st stage – baby preparing for birth
2nd stage – baby moving through birth canal
3rd stage – delivery of placenta
Pre-labour – the weeks/days before birth
Intuitive feelings and recognition of subtle changes in the body
Need additional sleep/rest/meditation
To do – ensure you have enough rest, check your hospital bag is packed and ready, emergency phone numbers are posted on the fridge.
Behaviour which can be exhibited by mum:
Twinges and mild, inconsistent contractions
Rupture of membranes (about 20 per cent of women)
Mucous discharge (plug)
Makes eye contact
Unable to sleep
Eats and drinks as usual
Needs active companionship
To do – run a warm bath. Partner can give a massage (Two drops of lavender or Jasmine oils to six drops of sweet almond oil). Rest/relaxation/meditation and visualisations.
Sits and rests between contractions
Avoids conversation and eye contact
Head rests on arms or pillow
Needs to rest her legs and begins to sink towards the floor
More comfortable upright (not always)
Thirsty, but loses appetite for food
Finds own comfortable position
Needs companionship that is unobtrusive and non-disruptive
Develops own breathing pattern
Changes her behaviour only when necessary
To do – normal/light activities. Adopt positions for comfort. Upright positions and movement – rocking and pelvic rock. Rest. Ensure adequate fluids, eat if hungry and sleep if tired. Release tensions with sighing – use voice and play music. Heat – cold – bath – shower.
Try to focus on the joy of the experience – this is truly one of life’s great experiences and try not to lose sight of that – and at the end of this you will have a baby.
LABOUR AID: (from Sheila Kitzinger’s book – Homebirth)
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ baking powder
2 crushed calcium tablets
drink juice/glucose tablets
Partner’s role –encourage and offer positive support, help in positions – physical support. Help in movement/rocking. Touch, massage, pressure for comfort, pain relief. Assist in hot packs/shower. Encourage breathing/vocalising/sighing. Time contractions.
Between contractions – cool sponge the face, neck and hands. Provide drinks (juice/energy drinks and water) and encourage rest.
Shaking and vomiting
Sudden change in behaviour
Personality changes – irrational comments
Feels out of control, unable to manage
Restless, needs to move, tries different comfort measures
Noise – yelling even screaming
Rupture of membranes
To do: Positions for comfort – urge to push. Movement – vocalize and rest
Partner’s role: Help partner change position and to counter the urge to push
Second wind – spurt of energy
Sense of purpose reappears
Grips and needs physical support
Drops towards the floor – bends and opens knees
Sounds change – grunts and pushing noises
Sudden need to empty bowels
Rupture of membranes (if not already broken)
To do: Positions for comfort/progress – respond to the urge to push and let go – release as you push. Watch in mirror if you wish – panting as head crowns may assist.
Partner’s role: – encourage and support. Help in positions, encourage partner to let go and “let the baby come”, cool sponge, drink, see your baby’s birth together.
REMEMBER – EACH CONTRACTION IS ONE STEP CLOSER TO MEETING YOUR BABY
Attention solely on baby
Elation – feelings of surprise, satisfaction, amazement
Sits upright to see her baby
Wants to pick baby up – fondles baby first and gathers to the breast – this is wonderful as you can enjoy what is called the “first gaze” where your baby will look directly into your eyes and you will both be flooded with copious amounts of the love hormone, Oxytocin.
So now you are primed and ready – I’d love to hear about your birth experience! Please email me or comment below. And you can book into the next pregnancy yoga course here.