Sister Lilian Centre’s Top Tips For A Better Birth
After all those months of waiting, it’s finally time for Baby’s grand entrance into the world – but first you have to get through labour…
Labour’s bad reputation – often fuelled by the horror stories the media and moms love to share – plays a big part in making it the less-than-perfect experience many women think it will be. Ponder this – labour is a natural part of the pregnancy process; right along with your growing belly and strange cravings. Dreading labour literally makes it worse! Anxiety makes labour more difficult because it triggers adrenalin and raises your cortisol levels, suppressing the hormones which make labour easier and provide natural pain relief. How sad; how bad is that?
How do you have a fear-free birth? One of the best ways is to use the services of a private midwife, because then you are guaranteed to have a birth focussed on you and Baby without the interference of protocols, shift changes, and added stress. Adding a doula to your birth team enhances the emotional support you will receive too, and thus your birth experience.
Whatever birth you choose to have (yes, you do have choices), here are some guidelines to help you have the best possible labour.
In early labour:
- Adjust your mindset – pace yourself and don’t get impatient and try to rush things
- Go back to sleep if labour hits in the middle of the night – it’s still going to be a long wait and you’ll need that extra rest!
- Move around – water the garden, dance with your partner, and just keep moving to establish the process of labour
- Wait before you rush off to the hospital – if your contractions are manageable and the roads aren’t busy, wait until contractions are about five minutes apart
- Keep eating to keep your stamina up – fruit is a great option
- Take a deep, warm bath to soothe the pain – if your membranes have broken, shower instead
- Sit backwards on an armless chair – this allows you to rest in an upright position while still keeping your pelvis splayed
In active labour:
- Play soothing music to help you relax
- Sip constantly from a gym-style water bottle to keep you hydrated
- Keep your bladder empty so that it doesn’t slow the downward progress
- Ask your partner, midwife, or birth companion to wipe down your face and neck in between contractions
- Get a massage with arnica oil to help ease backache
- Apply warmth or cold – according to your preferences – to your back and lower abdomen to soothe discomfort
- Tie your hair up – your neck gets very hot in labour!
- Pack warm socks so that your feet don’t get cold during labour
- Apply lip balm to stop your lips from chapping from all the heavy breathing
Most of all, remember that giving birth is a life experience – one you and Baby are perfectly designed for!
To help you achieve the birth that will forever benefit you and your baby, you can do the Sister Lilian Centre’s online antenatal course.