Yahoo labor! Many people carry excitement, fear, and a mixed bag of emotions when it comes to birth. Can you love your birth? I say yes! Birth is a monumental moment in one’s life. To say you will remember your birth story is an understatement. This is a moment in your life that will be remembered forever; we as women do not forget our birthing stories. They are important keepsakes, etched in our memory hall of fame.
I believe good labor starts with an amazing team; you’ll want to make sure to interview your Dr., midwife and screen anyone else who will be in your birthing room. My number one tip is that it is ok to say no to anyone who will not make you feel safe, have a great bedside manner, and most of all, make you feel comfortable and at peace during labor. You deserve to create your labor space exactly how you envision it. Go ahead ask all the questions, dig deep in your interviews, a good team is the first step to incredible labor.
Getting ready for your big day:
You can have a joyful birth, and you 100 percent deserve a supportive birth story. Educate yourself. By reading this blog, you’re already on the right track. My two favorite birth book recommendations are ” The birth partner by Penny Simpkin” and” Ina’s May’s guide to childbirth,” both found on Amazon. Also, take a birth class; I like the bradly method, birth classes. Fill your mind with positive birth stories, podcasts, and inspirational birth Instagram feed.
Preparing your body for labor week 37 and on: I love a birth ball for weeks coming up to labor, sit and sway, practice rolling your hips. Gentle stretching, brisk walking, perineum massage, Taylor sitting with practicing good posture, and gently supported squatting will help you prepare for birth. Locate your PC muscle that surrounds the birth canal by practicing Kegel exercises, which will strengthen your PC muscle. Practice the cat-cow yoga position, which can help ease back pain and is an epic laboring position. Your body was indeed made to labor and labor well!
What does early labor look like?
Early Labor: Early labor starts with contractions generally about 10-20 minutes apart, 30-60 seconds long. These contractions are generally not painful. You want to keep in mind there is no reason to dash to the hospital just yet. Take some pictures with your partner in this phase. You and your partner can slow dance, a romantic way to start labor out, and the upright position and swaying will help progress your labor. You can gently rock from side to side on your exercise ball or do a figure-eight shape. A good walk and a hearty nap is a great way to start labor. Please, in early labor, go about life as normal, eat, drink, be merry and make sure to get some rest. You will need to save your energy for the hard work ahead.
Transition into active labor: Transition into active labor is when contractions feel a little more intense. You now need to stop and focus on your body during the contraction rushes. This is a great time to start some comfort measures. Heat or cold pack applied to the back, a warm bath or shower, some light counter-pressure applied by your birthing partner or doula is a great way to help this stage. Setting up candles, music, and a soothing shower or bath is a great way to help facilitate the second stage. I like to encourage lots of free movement in this second stage, walk stairs, do supportive squatting, sit with legs straddled over a toilet seat, use your birth ball, peanut ball, or pillows in supportive ways to help engage the baby to move down and keep labor progressing.
Emotional shifts: Emotional shifts are a great way to tell how labor is progressing. In early labor, the emotion you might feel most is excitement; you might be thinking, I think this is it! Excitement will eventually fade into concentration. After excitement shifts to concentration, keep your space calm, dimly lit, and private can help you focus on your labor and breathing, You may no longer be able to walk or talk through contractions. Contractions might be 5-6 minutes apart at this phase, averaging 60 seconds long. You want to call your doula with this second emotional signpost, and she can help you gauge where you are at during your labor.
The 5-1-1– I have my clients generally call me at the 5-1-1. That is when contractions are 5 minutes apart, 60 seconds long for a full hour. However, if they have had their water break, nausea, mucus plug loss, vomiting, and contractions, I have the client call to assess the labor stage access the labor stage. Once the contractions are 3-4 minutes apart, lasting a few seconds long, it is time to head to the hospital. The 5-1-1 gives the doula ample time to get to the location and be with mom before heading into the hospital.
The birth of a baby– Right before the baby is born, it is completely normal to feel self-doubt. Your contraction rushes may feel back to back, and you might feel like you can no longer carry on. When you feel like you can’t, the baby being born is just around the corner!! Encouragement and a good position are crucial during this phase of labor. You want a position that will open the pelvis, squatting or on all fours or hands and knees, are great delivery positions for the baby to be born in, giving plenty of space for the pelvis to open.
You did it!! The baby has arrived, the last stage is the birth of the placenta. The placenta is an important part of the birthing process; it is usually easy to birth. If there are no complications, you can hold the baby during this phase. Delayed cord clamping until the placenta is birthed or until the umbilical cord stops pulsating is recommended. Mom generally feels a surge of joy after the baby is here and safely in her arms.
Should you hire a doula?
Why hire a doula- I gotta put a small jingle in here for a doula hire; yes, you should think about hiring a doula. Why? A doula means “servant” in Greek, and the heart of the birth doula is to serve the mom however she can during her pregnancy labor, birth. As stated before, birth is a profound moment in your life. A doula is trained to help recognize the mother’s needs in labor and helps facilitate those needs. She supports mom and helps aid in comfortable positioning in labor. A doula is an emotional encourager/advocate for mom and dad. She is your trained helping hands to help with resources and knowledge from attending women in birth.
I hope this article brings some inspiration to your birth song,
XOXO- Leah Fellers