Several years ago I was asked to speak at the Calgary Baby & Tot Show at the BMO Center. I said “sure of course what would you like me to speak on?” They promptly replied, “How to have a faster easier birth.” Well immediately I know I would definitely be the star of the show, because really who does not want to know that information. That is A LOT of pressure. Luckily I was pretty darn confident I actually had something that fit the topic. Actually a lot of somethings.
Here are a few:
Now really there was something to be said about going to your Lamaze class and learning to breath. I wouldn’t necessarily think there is a need for a 4 part series on it but breathing in labour is, well, absolutely necessary. My recommendation is super simple, try doing your deep relaxation breathing (yoga breathing) for as much of, if not all of your labour. A wise yogi once announced at the beginning of class that when we are faced with a difficult yoga pose and think we will fall on our face, to just begin our yoga breathing. It will tell your mind that you are okay. This of course seems to easy to be true, but really if you think about it (and try it) when you are doing deep, slow breathing your brain literally cannot think of or be in anxiety or stress. The two do not match. So effectively we have convinced (even tricked – but that’s okay too) our brain that we are completely relaxed and calm. Okay so this seems tailor made for the labour process. Isn’t that EXACTLY what you want your brain to think. The answer is YES!!!
You have heard the drill, when in labour move around. Well do you know why? This is sound advice but let me explain to you why it is so. Consider your pelvis a puzzle that your baby’s head needs to navigate to fit into. The inlet of the pelvis is shaped different than the outlet of the pelvis. Your baby’s head is shaped differently depending on how it presents, tilted, flexed, tucked, or turned. So if we can keep changing the shape of our pelvis through movement and positions the more successful baby will be navigating it’s little head through. Sure you can have a baby flat on your back…..eventually. It just generally will take much longer and in doing so you are doing your baby no favours.
Some popular and successful positions are; hands and knees (especially great to relieve back pain), using the “birth” ball or exercise ball, nice supported squat position and pretty comfortable too. The toilet, well this isn’t glamorous but hey it works. You are squatting and incorporating a lot of gravity and you are supported with a seat. To make it a little more comfy, try sitting down frontwards and putting a pillow on the tank, it really is pretty nice like that for a handful of contractions. Side lying, this is a great position when you need a rest. Just remember to keep your bottom leg relatively straight and your top leg bent and way up near your ribs. This helps your resting position still have an effective pelvis opening flair.
Now I know that your partner can not and should not be replaced in your labour. Nothing can replace the strong emotional connection and love that you share. However lets look at the facts, doulas make a difference! This added support can make your birth outcome that much better. The statistics don’t lie as you can see. Consider her your cheat sheet for pregnancy, labour, birth and postpartum. Relax, when in doubt, the doula has it covered. This support is so great for the dads out there. They get to do what they feel comfortable doing in the labour process, have feedback, advice and guidance and know that they don’t have to remember everything by themselves. Truly my husband is my biggest seller. Having had 4 kids and only one with a doula- he swears by it. It was a game changer for him.
Almost all labouring women like to be massaged. There are times when she doesn’t want to be touched, but generally there are also times when she does. Hands and feet are the most successful spots, surprised? These have the most nerve endings and pressure points and subconsciously she is thanking you. So instead of letting her squeeze the life out of your hand or break a finger, save her the trouble and massage her hands. It’s a win win.
Usually anything around the lower back and hips also enjoy the massage action. Applying counter pressure or performing the double hip squeeze
can be most helpful in relieving some of the pain in labour.
How about you try a nice scalp massage. This one I have not tried, but reflectively I often think I would have loved this in labour. It is by far my most favorite massage and I would think I could have gotten pretty happy if this was used in my labour. Give it a try and let me know how it worked for you.
Here are a few of my major tips for helping you have a faster easier birth. Remember if you are pumping out endorphin hormones (the happy hormone) the less pain you will experience. This hormone is actually our bodies natural pain relief. So whatever helps you feel happy, calm and relaxed will enhance your chances of having these hormones surge through your body during labour. Thus blocking the adrenaline and creating more ease and speed with the process of labour.
For more tips check out one of our childbirth classes
. We would love to have you join us:)