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By Wendy, Contributing Writer
Laboring can be a lengthy process for some women and not for others. Some say the ‘pains’ of childbirth are necessary, however, more importantly; it is progressive rather than painful. The tips listed today help the laboring mother feel more confident that her body can do what it needs to do to birth.
Relaxation is the #1 required item for us to allow our bodies to open up and allow the baby to descend. Gravity is a close #2 requirement to help the process along. Relaxation and gravity working together is a perfect combination for labor to progress. When we tense up our bodies go into a ‘flight or flight’ mentality and labor/ progress can slow down, if not stop all together. So it is imperative that we keep a healthy and calm mindset while laboring.
Along with the laboring positions to be listed later, packing a Relaxation Kit is just as important if not the MOST important bag to pack to take with you wherever you give birth.
My Top 5 items to include a Relaxation Kit are:
- iPod with different genres available to listen/ CD’s of different genres. Pick at least 2-3 CD’s to take with you because you never know what you will be in the mood to listen to.
- Essential Oils that help with relaxation
- Favorite blanket/ ‘lovey’ that brings you back to your bedroom and instantly relaxes you
- Comfortable pajamas you can relax in during labor until baby is ready to be born
- Favorite DVD’s that you can bring with you and play in the background to help you feel more at home
The keywords listed above are “Feel more at Home”. No matter if the birth center/ hospital has the most beautiful rooms, it is not home. You need to make sure you feel as comfortable as possible to you can relax.
Now, you are ready to relax and no matter if we are laboring at home until the last moment when we leave for the hospital, laboring and birthing at home, or at the hospital trying to avoid the epidural, the suggested labor positions listed will help us relax and allow our bodies to do what is necessary to birth our babies.
Top 9 Laboring Positions
Walking the halls
This is a wonderful way to help get labor moving if you are stalled or god-forbid your water has broken and labor has completely stopped/not started. You can also include in this walking hills/ stairs, but please make sure you have support of a partner/doula when you do. Leaning against wall/ bed and having partner/ doula push on lower back during contractions.
Some women experience back labor, which typically occurs when our babies are ‘sunny side up’ in the womb. There are exercises that can be done to try and rotate that little one, but in the meantime this is a great way relieve that pressure/ pain.
Having your partner and doula wrap a rebozo (long sheet/ scarf) around your lower abdomen
You are either on your hands and knees/ leaning against the bed or wall. You rock from left to right in between contractions, when a contraction hits the partner and doula pull the rebozo tight to help distract the lower abdomen pain associated with contractions. Thus giving you the ability to breathe and relax through each contraction/ surge.
Dancing with Partner/Doula
This rocking motion from side to side while the partner/doula support you, the laboring woman, gives a nice rhythm that does not stop during a contraction. Keeping you relaxed and focused to breathe.
Hands and Knees
While in the position you will do what is called “pelvic rocking’, which if your baby is ‘sunny side up’ (not face faced toward your back), will help relieve the back labor associated with the baby’s position. This will also encourage the baby to rotate to the more preferred position.
Rocking Chair/Labor Ball
This is a great way for the mother to center; spend time laboring with her eyes shut while doing a ‘pelvic rock’ sitting down. This can help the baby rotate, descend while the mother rests while laboring, yet still utilizes gravity.
Kneeling on the Bed, laying over Birth Ball
A more relaxed way to ‘pelvic rock’ without straining the wrists. Plus, laying over the birth ball encourages allowing the body to go ‘limp’, which is ideal for allowing labor to progress.
Sitting on a Birth Ball and leaning over the Bed
Another way to do ‘pelvic rocking’ without having to exert much energy holding the body up. Leaning over the bed, resting the head encourages the body to go limp and relax.
Sitting on Toilet
Those sweet babes can make it feel like our pelvis is crushing and the pressure can feel nearly unbearable. However, sitting on a toilet helps all of that. How? The wonderful hole designed in a toilet seat makes for a great way for us to face the tank, sit, rest our hot heads against the cold tank and just relax. This relieves so much pressure and if you are in a hospital. . . even the tile wall behind the ‘non-tank’ toilet feels amazing. Try it, you will be amazed!! (If you’re worried about having a baby on the toilet, you can place a towel over the bowl, then put the seat down.)
A lot of hospitals are installing showers into their labor/delivery rooms. Know what else? They come with jets that hit the lower and upper backs. . . laboring at home? No problem, install a removable shower head before that labor starts and use it to point very powerful jets at your lower back during labor; it takes your mind off the pain.
Also, did you know that laboring in a shower/ tub actually can shorten labor? However, wait till you are in active labor (4 cm dilated and contractions close together) or it could slow it down. The water helps relax us, which in turn shortens our labors; heck, if it is allowed, why not just birth that baby right in the tub. You will love the experience.
Regardless if you are laboring in a Hospital, Birth Center, or Home these tips can help you endure the pains of labor and help you achieve a drug free birth or low-intervention birth. Print this list out, practice it before you go into labor and don’t forget to tell your husband which positions were your favorite.