|40 weeks on my due date 24/6/13|
I was lucky my labour went as smoothly as it possibly could and I'm so thankful I it did. I know it's not the case for everyone.
I thought I would share some tips that I believed helped me during labour. Things that you can do prior to or during the big event.
I would highly recommend participating in pregnancy yoga classes. I found it so relaxing and the advice given by my instructor who was also a doula (and pregnant herself) was incredibly helpful. I have no doubts it helped me 'mentally' prepare for labour. A lot of my tips will stem from the advice I was given from the instructor. We were shown positions to use ourselves during pregnancy and that could help us cope with labour.
I think it's suitable once you are over 12 weeks.
I'm sure everybody does one, it's unlikely it'll go exactly how you've written it but do one! From who your birth partner is, to music you want, to pain relief. Include everything! The midwife who delivered Eliot was fantastic and thoroughly read through mine so was fully aware of our wishes. I was lucky that only one thing that didn't go to plan with mine.
Just don't set your heart on it.
With your first baby you have no idea what to expect and that in itself freaked me out! But I quickly realised there was no point in stressing about it and the advice at yoga definitely helped. Remaining calm during labour also helps with natural pain relief. Stress releases adrenaline which will make the pain worse. I like to think I remained as calm as possible during labour but subconsciously who knows!
During yoga we were taught breathing techniques to help relax and advised to use these to breathe through contractions. Deep breaths in through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. I would say keep these up for as long as you can, you go into your own zone and I certainly didn't keep this up but it helps in the early stages.
Advice that stuck in my mind from pregnancy yoga was not to lay on my back. It tends to slow labour down and gravity can't do it's job as well. Being as mobile as possible, walking, bouncing on a birthing ball are good for helping things progress naturally. Obviously how active you can be depends on how your labour progresses.
Think carefully about the pain relief you want. The thought of a needle in my spine totally freaked me out so from the outset I knew if I could cope I did not want an epidural.
From early on in my pregnancy I wanted my labour to be as natural as possible. In the early stages I used a TENs machine and once I was in established labour I used gas and air.
Get all the information, pros and cons of the different types of pain relief available so you can choose the best option/s for you.
Give gas and air a chance
This didn't happen to me but I've heard gas and air can make you feel very sick on the first couple of go's so you don't use it. A midwife told me if you keep going you get past this and can use the benefits of gas and air.
I recommend using it if you require stitches after giving birth too, the local anaesthetic alone didn't cut it for me!
My two must haves for labour next time would be
- A birthing ball. I didn't have one at home but would definitely get one.
- Gas and air, it got me through contractions
What are your tips for labour?