Tips For An Easier Labor
We’ve all heard those horror stories of labors that went on for several days—the ones where the mother couldn’t fully dilate, or the screams were so terrible that the staff had to move the mama-in-waiting to another section of the hospital so as not to terrify the other pregnant women. Then there are the urban legends about the times that the epidural didn’t work…yikes! Is there any truth to these stories? Can we perhaps never know because those mothers lost their minds and had to be institutionalized after their terrible experiences? Who knows? What we do know is that labor—even when it isn’t worthy of an urban myth—is no walk in the park. But you don’t have to take it lying down…well, sometimes you do. What we mean is there are some things you can do to make for a quicker, easier labor. Like these tips.
Doing prenatal yoga while you are pregnant will help you learn to hold positions that keep your body upright—something that will be important in labor. It also helps you focus on breathing, which will come in handy during an intense labor.
Getting regular massages during pregnancy can help slowly relax and loosen all of your muscles, which will make them more ready to relax after contractions during labor.
Stay in shape
Women who are in shape tend to have quicker labors with fewer complications than those who are overweight. Staying in shape before, and during pregnancy, can lead to a much more streamlined birth.
If you can afford to have a masseuse come to the room, do so. Otherwise, even having a loved one massage your arms and thighs will help. Massage boosts the production of oxytocin, which helps the body relax.
Getting the baby in position
In the months leading up to labor, try this: kneel on a floor every day, leaning toward a couch, for about ten minutes. You can, alternatively, be on hands and knees for 10 minutes a day. These exercises can reduce the chances of a posterior baby during birth.
Kegels can help with all sorts of things, including bladder control post-labor. But they also strengthen those pelvic muscles, which makes for better and more efficient pushing during labor.
Add a heat pad and cold pad
During labor, roll a warm water bottle of your belly to relax those muscles, and apply a cold pack to your back to minimize back pain during labor.
If you are allowed to walk around during labor, do so. Staying upright and active can speed up the labor. Plus, it allows gravity to push the baby down.
Get a doula
Women with doulas throughout labor are less likely to get cesarean sections and less likely to require epidurals.
Get in a hot tub
Your room will likely have a shower or tub. If you aren’t confined to bed, at five or six inches of dilation, get in the tub. The hot water can relax muscles and speed up labor.
Scream, shout, and sing
Don’t try to control your groans for the comfort of the staff—they’ve heard it before and they don’t mind. Furthermore, making sounds helps you release tension and relaxes the body.
If you worry too much about when the next contraction is coming once they’ve begun, your body will tense up. So stay distracted with an edge-of-your-seat TV show, great book, or conversation with a loved on.
When labor begins, stick to light food that is gentle on your stomach. Large, fatty, or greasy meals early on in labor can lead to nausea later, which makes implementing any of these tips difficult.
Have a plan
Go over all of the things that may occur during labor before labor and have a plan for each one. That way, as they come up, you don’t need to argue about them while you’re going through labor pains—that’s just stress that your body doesn’t need.
Don’t argue with your OB
Ultimately, if your plan doesn’t coincide with what your doctor says must happen, then let go and let god. Arguing with your doctor will only slow down the process.