Since most of us are BTDT and we are nearly there. What are some of your best labor tips? Positions you found most comfortable?
Since I am not going to have enough time (and the slots are all full anyhow) to take a birthing class I am hoping to gather as much information that would be helpful for natural childbirth.
I was actually pretty happy lying on my side for the most part, it was the middle of the night when I was in transition, and I was happy to just relax and lie down. But basically the best tip is to let your body move you to whatever position is comfortable. It may be lying on a side, or walking through it, or going on hands and knees. You have to do whatever works FOR YOU! Also, really trying to allow your body to do the work, and not fighting it. Resist the urge to fight the contraction, let it come, realize it's helping you and pick something to focus on. Let yourself relax and it will be much easier. I downloaded a hypnosis online, and just listened to it before bed and going to sleep, it will help you get into that relaxed state - the more you listen before, the better... speaking of which, I should probably start that up again seeing as I'm only 5 weeks or so out!
I haven't done much to prepare but just went into it not afraid of the pain and knowing I wanted to do it with little intervention and no epi. It helps that I'm stubborn and also blessed with good birthing genes I guess.
My advice is very similar to Adina's...try different positions to see what is comfy for you and be sure to relax through contractions and let it happen.
I can tell you after 2 births that what worked with DS1 was not the same with DS2. I spent nearly the entire labor my first time on hands and knees, rocking through the contractions. It really worked and brought relief to get through them. When it started getting more intense with DS2 I immediately went to that position and it was miserable. With him I found pacing the room, like speed walking through the contractions was really working. After I got to the hospital and they wanted me in the bed I spent the last few hours ony left side and I'm not sure I would have wanted to be up if I had tried it. It wasn't so bad at that point laboring laying on my side. It was during that time I noticed myself arching my back and tensing my shoulders during contractions and so started really focusing on relaxing those areas. It felt so much better when I stayed relaxed but it takes concentration to pay attention to how your body is fighting it and then relaxing that area.
But your mindset about labor is going to be a huge impact on how it goes. So try to read or gather any info you can to help change your perspective if there are any fears.
I'm planning on going natural as well and I am finishing up reading up on the hypnobirthing book. They have some really good scripts and advice for a natural childbirth. I know sitting up or standing helps bring baby down faster and just knowing your body knows what to do helps!
I don't feel like I am afraid. And I wasn't really last time either, I was just done with being pregnant and asked to be induced, which was a terrible decision as far as pain, and I didn't make it very far before asking for an epi. This time though I feel more informed and I know that my body can and will do what it needs to I just need to not focus on myself so much. I have been working on self hypnosis since I was a teenager (my therapist who I thought was nuts suggested it to help with insomnia), it hasn't been until recently that I have had any real luck with it, I think it was a mental block because I thought the doctor was a quack lol. I am going to buy a yoga ball soon.
DH thinks the whole natural child birth thing is stupid (needless to say, he is not my birth partner) and thinks that I should be induced again just so we can know exactly when, but that is a stupid reason because it isn't like he is a soldier about to be deployed or something that would require a time sensitive birth. I don't think he understands how bad I felt on the pitocin, I was blacked out for about 2 hours until I got the epi, then I was asleep and I really don't remember much other than my mom telling me to stop cursing and the very end. I would rather be alert even if I am feeling pain.
I would definitely agree about not fighting the contractions, it will make it worse if you fight them. It is can be very hard to remember to breathe and relax through contractions, but it will be so much better! I was having several painful contractions earlier this evening for a few hours. Once I sat down and started to breathe and relax they eased up.
Walking helped me until I got to a certain point, then I just couldn't walk anymore. With DS I walked as long as I could, then I sat in a rocking chair until it was time to push, and then I got in the bed. With DD I was in the bed the whole time, but it didn't last long.
I agree with keeping moving until you find something that helps lessen the discomfort. For me, getting on my knees and elbows and like tucking my head between my hands helped for a while, then curled up in a ball on my side helped for a while. Then I got my epidural re-placed and that worked the best I also found with my second, if you need to re-position yourself a bit while pushing, ASK! I was in a really awkward position (well partially me and partially the baby laying strangely) and my pushes weren't doing a thing and were KILLING my ribs (worst pain of the entire delivery, sad I know). I had a way too aggressive epidural and couldn't move at all, but once I got DH to help me readjust, it was like night and day! Oh and DON'T push with your face! A friend did that with one of her kids and she looked like she'd gotten beat up in the street - her eyes were almost swollen shut! Concentrate on relaxing your face
Boys are silly!
Thanks for the tips ladies! I'm really trying to come to peace with the idea that childbirth is what our bodies were built for. Western culture instills such birth fear into its women! The book I'm reading speaks about contractions as being good. They are helping us get baby out and we need to embrace them, not fear them. It also speaks about not tensing your body up because that resistance is what makes labour not progress. I borrowed a hypnobirthing CD but still havent listened to it. I should get on that!
That is one thing I have always had problems with - tensing up during contractions. I've always fought them instead of realizing they were doing good. I'm not doing a drug-free childbirth, but that's one thing I hope to be better at this time, is learning how to let the contractions do their work without fighting them. I've heard that keeping your face relaxed can help keep your whole body relaxed, so I plan to try and keep my face relaxed by humming or quietly singing during contractions.
I think that the whole 'relaxing through the contraction' thing doesn't come naturally. I often tense up during pain. You need to probably be pretty conscious of it. As for relaxing the face, the book I'm reading says that relaxing your lips really helps you dilate. They suggest singing (right) or doing motorboat (camel lips) to keep your mouth relaxed.