The doctor isn't going to tell mom everything she might want to learn to make delivering a baby more comfortable. Most new moms are surprised to find that their doctor only entered the room for a short time right before the baby was born. That's why attending a birth class or hiring a doula is so essential.
Nurses may or may not try to be helpful throughout the experience. Not all nurses will have the time to teach or suggest different techniques to make birth easier. Grabbing a book about it or attending a local class is mom's best bet. There are many ways that mom can become more relaxed throughout labor and delivery. Some of the techniques may SPEED UP delivery!
Mom and her partner or coach will both benefit from attending a good class about labor and delivery. Just learning the basics so that mom knows how labor will progress will help so much. Beyond that, there are many techniques and positions can help to make mom more comfortable and relaxed during the entire process. Mom might even learn ways to lessen or eliminate her pain...naturally!
Keep reading to find out the 15 things doctors won't teach mom about delivery, but she'll want to know.
15 Exercise Ball Moves The Baby Along Naturally
An exercise ball is a simple tool that mom may decide to bring to the hospital with her or many hospitals have them there already. Usually, during labor, mom will benefit from using an extra large ball. The larger the ball, the easier it will be for mom to comfortably use it (she won't need as developed of core muscles for it).
Don't worry; mom doesn't have to be a super athlete to use an exercise ball in the labor and delivery room.
While mom is in labor, she can sit or bounce on the ball. This gentle movement helps to move baby further into the birth canal.
Mom's body will instinctively tell her the best way to move to aid the baby in its decent. Since mom may be leaking fluids at this point, using a towel over the ball will make her more comfortable. She won't need to wear underwear, just let everything flow. Later in labor, some women like to use the ball to sit on or squat over as they push. This position allows gravity aid in bringing the baby out. It takes pressure off of mom's back as baby moves into crowning position. Laying flat can be one of the most painful positions for a laboring mom.
14 Birthing Tub Reduces The Pain
Many hospitals are now offering birthing tubs for laboring moms. In some hospitals that aren't yet equipt, mom can bring in her tub to use. Just as a warm bath is relaxing to achy muscles, the birthing tub will help to relax mom's laboring body. Sitting or floating in water will take pressure off of mom's body.
It will make her more buoyant and decrease her pain. Baby will continue to move further into the birth canal while mom is in the tub.
Baby does it without mom feeling so much pain and discomfort in the process. Many women choose to spend hours of labor getting in and out of the tub as they think fit. They report that the warm water helps to ease the discomfort of labor. When mom's body is relaxed, baby will be able to move more quickly into the birth canal. On the other hand, if mom is very tense during labor, her body could be working against itself. Mom's tight body will slow the baby's progress through the birth canal. Some doctors will allow mom to give birth in the tub too. Many proponents of this say that it can decrease tearing and be a more pleasant birth experience for baby.
13 Relaxing Shower
In rooms where a birth tub is not available, a shower might be a good alternative.
Mom can stay in the shower for any length of time during her labor to help ease her discomfort. The warm water will help to relax tense muscles.
The sensation of the shower can change mom's focus. If mom is focusing on how uncomfortable she is, she is sure to make the labor more difficult for herself. If she, instead, focuses on the tiny drops of water caressing her skin, her body will be able to relax more and allow baby to progress further down the birth canal. Mom might not be comfortable standing in the shower. After hours of labor, she might not trust her balance or leg power anymore. This doesn't mean she needs to rule out a shower to help with labor pains. Instead, she can sit on a chair or even an exercise ball in the shower. This will allow her to relax her muscles more and stay in the shower longer if she'd like. Keeping the lights low or off will help to create an even more relaxed environment. Many moms are surprised to find out how helpful a shower can be during labor. Some hospitals will also let mom deliver in the shower if she is comfortable there.
12 Way Better Positions Than Lying On Her Back
Mom may want to try many different positions as her labor progresses.
Some doctors will instruct mom to lay flat on her back to labor and deliver the baby. This position can be excruciating for mom. The flat position can make it more difficult for baby to progress down the birth canal because it won't have the help of gravity in the process.
Instead, mom's body has to do all of the work to move the baby down. Mom might want to sit on the edge of the bed with her legs hanging over or in a supported squat position. Some moms like to use the squat position and have a partner stand behind them to give them extra support. Being on her hands and knees on the floor or in the bed can help to take pressure off of her back. Laying on her side might be comfortable for mom. She could also try sitting in a chair or on the toilet. Walking or swaying can help during labor too. Mom and her partner or birth coach should do some research into different positions. Practicing them beforehand will give them a good idea of what they might try in the delivery room. Having a print out available can help when the moment comes so that they have plans at their fingertips.
11 Meditation So She Can Stop Focusing On The Pain
Using mediation during labor can have profound effects on mom's experience. Using the months before labor to practice meditation techniques will help mom on the big day. Some moms find that they like to meditate on their own in the delivery room. Others prefer to use a recorded meditation to guide them through the labor. The meditation can be something specific for labor and delivery, or it could be any meditation practice.
When mom is able to meditate during labor, it takes her thoughts away from her body and pain.
She might focus on moving the baby or not focus on the delivery at all. Either way, it will help her body to relax and allow labor to happen more easily. As with the other techniques, when mom's body is more relaxed, she'll feel less pain and stop working against her own body in the process. Meditation can also create a more peaceful birth experience for baby too. Mom might try to meditate on and off throughout labor and delivery. Some moms do it just during specific times like when they're being checked by the doctor. No one would expect mom to be able to successfully meditate for hours on end.
10 Keep Calm And Breathe Deep
The rhythmic breathing technique that is often featured in TV shows and on movies is hardly used anymore in the delivery room. This technique that was started by Lamaze classes is still helpful to some moms though. Other times, women find themselves getting too light-headed, dizzy and even sometimes passing out from not getting enough oxygen. Breathing techniques can still help mom during labor and delivery. Taking deep, controlled breaths is best.
By controlling her breaths, mom is able to calm herself down. This controlled breathing can go along with meditation techniques too.
The good thing about breathing deeply is that a coach can remind mom to do it. It will take moms focus away from other aspects of labor too. Women who practice breathing techniques regularly like in yoga classes find this birthing practice particularly helpful. Shallow breaths aren't as useful in the delivery room. They tend to make mom more anxious and can make it more difficult for her to get all of the oxygen she needs. Labor is hard work, and mom and the baby will need plenty of oxygen during the process. Deep breathing can help to get this much-needed oxygen to mom and baby throughout the entire labor and delivery.
9 Listen To Your Instincts And Bust A Move
Walking and movement can be beneficial during labor. The motion of mom's body will help labor to progress.
Women in tune with their bodies often find that they have strong desires to move in specific ways at different points during labor. This may be swaying back and forth or even dancing. Not every mom realizes that these movements are her body's way of giving direction to help with the labor.
The changes can help to move the baby down into the birth canal. They can also help to move the baby into different positions that will be more comfortable for mom. Some doctors restrict mom's movement during labor. In some cases, a doctor won't let mom walk around anymore after her water breaks for fear of infection. Other doctors and midwives are okay with mom moving around all throughout the labor. The hospital can give mom special absorbent underwear to catch any leaks as she walks around. Sometimes mom is limited to her room while other hospitals allow mom to roam the halls of the birth wing or the entire hospital. Walking at home during the early parts of labor can be helpful in progressing labor too. Many women pass the early hours of labor with a relaxing walk in the neighborhood.
8 If Mom Needs To Eat, She Should Eat
Doctors debate whether or not to let mom eat while she's in labor. Some forbid it while others think its okay. The reason for the ban was that it could cause problems if the uterus became overly enlarged which could lead to asfixiation accoring to UT Southwestern Medical Center. The other reason was that the esphogus might have a difficult time keeping the stomach contents down and they could come back up to enter the lungs or the windpipe. Now more and more doctors are realizing that a light meal can help mom to make it through labor and keep her energy up. While some only recomend liquids like broth or popsicles others allow whatever mom feels like eating. Mom could be in labor for upwards of 20 hours which is a long time to go without eating. Especially since near the end of labor is when mom will really need to have the energy to push the baby out. Some women find that they commonly get sick during labor and opt to skip meals themselves. Keeping it light and not going overboard is the vital key to remember for moms in labor. If solids are accepted, fruit or crackers can be great snacks for mom during labor.
7 A Distracting And Relaxing Massage
During intense periods of labor, mom may find it difficult to divert her attention away from what is happening in her body. Her coach can help a lot during this time.
A broad sweeping back rub with medium pressure can divert mom's attention from contractions to the back rub. This brings sensations to another part of her body which many women find helpful.
During the earlier hours of labor, a deep back massage can be very relaxing and help mom to connect with her partner. It can help her through the early and middle contractions in labor. Later in labor, though, this increased attention to her lower back or abdomen might not be as helpful. A foot massage early in labor is thought to help labor progress. It is also a great way to take mom's mind off of her upcoming job. Massage Oils and essential oils can help to relax mom. Some oils are thought to contribute to labor progress and make contractions more effective. More effective contractions will help to move the baby into the birth canal faster and shorten labor. Massage in the days and weeks after labor can help mom's uterus to shrink. It can also help mom to release some of the muscle knots she might develop during delivery.
6 A Coach To Support Mom
A doctor is going to have little time to coach mom through labor and much less time to help her partner figure out his role. Birthing classes to a great job of teaching the coach what to do and expect during the big day. A coach can easily feel helpless in the delivery room. It can be frightening for this partner to see mom in distress but have little help to offer. Even in the best of conditions, a coach will only be able to help mom so much.
But having a loving, supportive person by her side can help mom to feel more comfortable and immensely connected to her partner.
A coach might do a variety of things from brushing mom's hair to rubbing her back. A coach might be in charge of keeping certain people out of the room for mom. Running for ice chips or refilling water can also be the job of a coach. Thinking of different positions for mom to try or suggesting an exercise ball or shower can also help. If it is the coaches' first time in the delivery room, they're going to need extra guidance on what to do. Some couples opt to hire a doula to help mom through labor. The doula will give suggestions to the coach too.
5 Mom Should Kick Out Whoever She Wants
Knowing who to have in the delivery room and who to kick out is something your doctor won't go over with you. In some birthing classes, though, they'll make it a point to discuss the types of people you want in the delivery room. Birth is a very intimate processes. Some new moms feel that they have to ask certain people to be there with them. This isn't true.
If mom isn't entirely comfortable being completely exposed around someone and feeling more emotion than she ever has before, then that person shouldn't be in the delivery room.
Mom's comfort is of the utmost importance during delivery. If mom is feeling uncomfortable, labor can slow and even stall. Some moms have found that having a particular person in the room makes them too uncomfortable and suddenly their contractions stop. Mom might have to make some tough decisions before the big day. Some people might assume that they will be there with mom. It's okay for mom to make her wishes known. If someone gets upset about it, that's only more proof that they wouldn't have been helpful during labor. The nurses might even ask who is allowed in the room and help to run interference. Otherwise, a coach or doula can help to be gatekeepers.
4 Natural Need For A Dark, Quiet Spot
Humans and mammals alike search for dark, quiet places to have babies. This usually means that the mom will be safe from any harm and can focus on the process of birth. Having a baby in a hospital can make it more difficult to find a dark and quiet corner. Many birthing wings of hospitals have the lights dimmed and the floor tends to be quieter. More and more professionals are recognizing that this helps mom in labor. Mom or her coach can ask that nurses and other hospital staff limit their visits to the room to only vital tasks. Some moms, though, find it comforting to have a distraction during labor. They might like to have someone to talk to, a book to read or the TV on. This is all based on personal preference.
In a birthing class, mom will learn to be aware of her body and her emotions. She can work to prepare the room and make her wishes known.
Otherwise, a doctor usually won't coach mom on the finer points of preparing for labor like this. The doctor will probably be more worried about babies heart rate and mom's vitals.
3 Dim The Lights And Set The Stage
A darkened room can help mom connect with her experience. It can make her feel safe and free from distractions. Humans have a natural tendency to crave some level of darkness during labor. Bring lights can hurt mom's eyes or give her a headache. Mom's changing states during labor may make her more sensitive to light and sound. Mom might want to think of other ways to set her mind and body at ease for the big day. Some women love to diffuse calming essential oils like frankincense and lavender. Clary sage is another essential oil that is popular during childbirth and may even help the uterus to contract. During labor, mom's preferences might change and she and her coach can make changes in the room based on her needs. Mom might enjoy relaxing music during labor too. Something that brings about peaceful feelings for mom would be perfect. Some women opt for a rhythmic yet relaxing beat that they can focus on. Monks chanting, for example, can give mom a slow, deep rhythm to adjust her breaths too. Classical music, instrumental music or guided meditation can help in the delivery room. Some women find that they want something they can dance and move to help pass the time and move the baby into a better position.
2 Mental Fear Slows Labor
Mom's mind, body and spirit are intricately connected and each plays a role in labor and delivery. Women are told over and over again how painful labor is. TV and movies portray laboring women in excruciating pain and screaming. For most women, this isn't the correct picture of labor. Whether medicated or not, labor and delivery can be a beautiful and pain-free experience. Many women have had natural births that they would describe as pain-free. Books are written on the topic to help mom understand how to let go of her childbirth fears and embrace a more beautiful form of labor and delivery. As humans, we associate fear and pain together in the brain. Fear comes from not knowing how something will turn out. If you are hit by a car, for example, you'd be fearful because you don't know if you'll survive. This fear turns into pain on the physical level. Childbirth, on the other hand, nearly always follows a predictable sequence.
Mom doesn't need to have a fear of what will happen because she can pretty reliably predict the next step in the process. This can eliminate pain and separate it from the intense feelings of childbirth. If mom is fearful, her body might work to slow or stop labor.
1 One Minute At A Time
One critical coping mechanism that might be taught in a birthing class is that the intense feelings of contractions won't last forever. All labors eventually end (no matter how long they are). Beyond that, each contraction will only continue for about a minute. Some are even less. Mom can focus on the fact that she will have a contraction for one minute before she gets a period of relief. Understanding this fact about contractions makes labor go much more smoothly. Mom isn't unrealistically worried that she won't be able to handle it. Of course she can handle anything for 60 seconds. She'll get into tune with the waves of contractions and learn how to ride out the ups and downs. She'll start to understand the pattern and feel one coming on then intensifying. She'll find a sort of relief when its at its max because the next step is decreasing and stoping. By knowing that the contractions are manageable and don't need to be feared, she can better connect with the experience. Her body will relax and become acquainted with the rhythms This will all help to make labor faster and more manageable. When mom's mind and body are working together to move baby further into the birth canal, everything will flow easier. Mom's body won't be working against the process of labor - it will be working with it.