16 Tips for better labour

Understanding the pain

Having a baby uses so many parts of your body. The process involves stretching and opening of the cervix. During contraction there is a temporary lack of oxygen which causes the nerve endings in the uterus to become very “noisy” The pelvic floor muscles and perineum also contain nerve endings and pain receptors. Factors that make pain worse are fear, tension, incorrect positioning and lack of knowledge about the process.

Quote of the day

– Think of labour as an extreme sport, the effort is great , but the rewards are enormous!

So lets see what the 16 tips for an easier labour is!

1 Be calm

According to research, a calm, positive and unworried frame of mind will mean that you will cope better with whatever comes your way during labour. You will also cope better with pregnancy niggles.

2 Know your pelvic floor

The perineum stretches dramatically during birth. The more supple and stretchy it is before labour, the less pain and the less damage to the tissue. Perineal massage helps you build up the tolerance to the stretching sensation, long before your baby massages the perineum as she or he slips out.

3 Be strong

Toning up for birth by strengthening the muscles that really count will increase your capacity for the hard work ahead. You will be able to adopt any position to help your labour along. A healthy body also means a quicker recovery.

4 Be knowing

Nothing empowers you more than knowledge. Antenatal classes will help you understand the birth process and how to work with it. Understanding what is happening and knowing what to expect will decrease your fear which will help you to stay relaxed and calm during labour. A calm and relaxed state is conductive to labour while fear and tension actually inhibits the progress of labour.

5 Relax

A calm body and mind will help your body do what it has to do and help you feel positive. Relaxation techniques used during pregnancy will be very beneficial during labour as well. One method is to turn inner positive thoughts into pictures, the key is visualization. When you find yourself uptight, unable to sleep with your thoughts racing, try to mentally scan each part of your body. Tense it, hold for a few seconds and then release it. Feel the difference in your muscles. Do this through the entire body until you are completely relaxed and able to spot any residual tension. If you find that your mind wonders, try to focus on your breathing and bring your attention back to your baby.

6 Breath

Breathing with awareness will really help you decrease your pain in labour and ensure that you oxygenate your baby as well as your uterus (pain seems worse when there is a lack of oxygen). For a quick relaxation and focus, breath in through your nose for 10 counts and then out for another 10 counts. Breathing into your abdomen is much deeper breathing and exercises your abdomen muscles as well.

7 Move

Change positions constantly during labour and move. Movement dissipates pain,changes your perception of pain and time will seem to go by quicker when there’s a constant change. Stay as upright as possible and use the force of gravity to bring your baby down. Upright positions opens your pelvis and create a clear passage for your baby.

8 Be noisy

During labour don’t try and behave like a prim and proper lady. You should feel free to get into whatever position you want and make whatever noises you want. Moaning and groaning helps with the release of endorphins which helps you to breath deeper and release pain and tension. That’s why you need to be in an environment where you feel comfortable and unselfconscious.

9 Get wet

Water is a very effective form of pain relief and can be used at home or in hospital. Use water to sooth and settle you before and during labour and for pain relief. A powerful shower head directed onto your back can easy backache in labour. The deeper you are in water, the higher the level of pain relief. You should feel free to get into whatever position you want and make whatever noises you want.

10 Be co-operative

Remember the baby has a part to play too. An active baby helps themselves to get into the world. Prod your baby every now and then and remember that they are using their body to work their way into the world. Whatever you do affects them so breath, move, sing and relax.

11 Be musical

Music has the ability to transport you to another place and another time. It distracts you and involves your whole brain when you listen to it. It helps you to achieve the relaxed, almost hypnotic state that is so beneficial during labour.

12 Get scented

Aromatherapy oils can change the smell of a harsh labour room to a welcoming soothing environment that reminds you of a more familiar place. Oils such as lavender and chamomile have a wonderfully soothing effect on the psyche and the body! Clary sage oil is known to stimulate the natural pain killers of the body (endorphins). The oils can be massage into the skin or placed on a tissue and inhaled. Essential oils should always be mixed with a base oil.

13 Get touched

The power of touch should never be underestimated. Although many women love being touched in labour, some don’t – then HANDS OFF. You may want a soft and sensitive touch or hard pressure (the latter can change the way you perceive pain).

14 Be central

Tell those responsible for your care how you feel and what you are hoping for. It will give you great peace of mind to know that everyone is on your side. A good birth experience is about feeling that you are in control of the situation and are involved and consulted in decisions regarding your health during pregnancy, labour and birth. You need to feel you are central to what is happening. In this way no matter what happens, you feel good about the experience.

15 Be secure

If a woman feels safe in her environment, then she is more likely to relax. Stay at home for as long as possible, where you can wear your own clothes, listen to your own music, and do whatever you like to keep comfortable. Once in hospital or your birthing facility, continue to listen to music, use your oils and keep as private as possible. Many facilities today will go great lengths to make mothers feel as if she is in a place as comfortable as her own home. A harsh and noisy environment where people come and go will inhibit your ability to achieve that deep sense of calm and confidence in yourself.

16 Be loved

Having people you care about rooting for you, encouraging and praising you, and giving you feedback on how things are progressing will help your confidence and give you the boost you need to carry on when the going gets tough.

– This article came from Your Pregnancy – 2003

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1 Comment

  1. These tips seem so helpful. I am glad to have a chance of learning for I am 9 months pregnant and will try to definitely use them during labour. Thanx and cheers.

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