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15 Tricks For Dealing With A Long Labor

Labor is the end-stage of pregnancy that precedes and results in birth of the baby. The uterus starts to contract frequently and strongly, and the cervix and canal expand in aim of facilitating the emergence of the baby to the external world. The average duration of labor has been estimated to be 12 to 18 hours, although shorter durations have been often reported. In fact, almost all expectant women have the wish of ending their pregnancy easily and with not even minimal complications that add more exhaustion and struggle to the journey of the nine months. Despite that, not all of them, unfortunately, get their wish fulfilled, realizing eventually that their pregnancy was somehow more complicated and tougher than anticipated or sensed.

Long labors do often take place, and those pleased with having it are said to be rare; no one actually prefers keeping up with such a phase for a long time, everyone needs to be done with it as fast and soon as possible. Labor is often a catch-all phrase, but there are different stages of labor. A woman may go most of the day having labor pains, but they may only come one every 30 minutes or more. Hard labor is the last phase, when contractions are strongest and closest together. When the labor exceeds the duration of 18 hours, it is considered long, and it is known to be attributed to some troubles relevant to the fetal and genital system status, for example the wrong position of the fetus inside the womb, the contractions are not effective enough to open a space for baby’s passage, the baby happens to be too big to pass through the vaginal canal. Undergoing a caesarean is one of the outcomes. However, here are some tips to overcome an extended labor.

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15 Stop Thinking Of Time

Expectant women start to get concerned about when exactly they are going to undergo labor pain once they are updated with the positive pregnancy test, and in most cases, things do not go according to their expectations. Approaching the time of delivery, they somehow get themselves continuously prepared for the labor that is expected to onset at literally any time, and when it finally comes, they do not become less concerned, yet even more and more, since the pain is aggravated, and the baby’s life is strongly relevant.

When the expectant mum feels her labor is getting lengthier than she thought, she starts to imagine all kinds of things that could be going wrong, thinking when this will be done, and how. Brain activity is something certainly useful, but not really for such situations, since it is operating out of nervousness and worry, which hinders the needed relaxation of the uterine muscles, and as a result, pain is likely to be exaggerated and increased instead of easing.

14 Assume It’s Still Early

Not only thinking continuously of when the prolonged labor will come to an end makes it worse to tolerate, but also thinking of the nature of the pain itself and why it is not strong enough for example. Exhausting the brain with both thoughts usually happens simultaneously, and overcoming both of them should be the same.

If the expectant woman happens to contract prolonged labor, she is advised to forget that it is a labor in the first place, and assume it’s still not yet the time by convincing herself with the idea that, for example, she has got a simple ache or pain similar to those types of pain she encounters during menstruation. Making herself eliminate – at least temporarily – from her head the belief that she is under the mercy of labor, makes the phase at least a little bit soothed, helping her to proceed to the real moments with less pain and more reassurance.

13 Follow The Labor

How is that possible? How to follow a labor, especially a prolonged, disturbing one? As a matter of fact, when the labor follows the pregnant woman, she will be troubled and feeling more and more unwell, this is due to the fact that her brain will be controlling the intensity of labor pain as a result of continuously being nervous and tense. Whereas when it is the opposite case, the opposite result is likely to take place.

Allowing oneself to follow the labor simply means submitting to its ups and downs and the way it is proceeding. Prolonged phases of labor are known to be fluctuating between being intense and being calm and loose. Therefore, the woman is advised to regulate her emotions accordingly; getting ready for the hospital, but without getting herself stressed out, in which case the pain intensifies. On the other hand, getting a nap and relaxing herself if possible, to gain strength for the struggle ahead.

12 Stay And Relax At Home

There is no need, and also no logic, of continuously going to and from the hospital because of the thought the birth is coming really soon. In addition, the benefits of these actions seem to be zero, and people involved in this are getting nothing but tension, disappointment, and tiredness of going back and forth with no valuable results. Having the pregnant woman in the car during such session can indeed impact badly upon her overall health, especially when the car is moving all the time fast. Checking with the doctor beforehand is advisable as they will tell you when you should go to the hospital. It is usually when the contractions come quickly together, and also depending on how long it will take to get to the hospital.

Contractions of a long labor indicate that it is still not the time for getting out of home, and that it is necessary to take the matter easily and seize it by properly staying at home and relaxing, avoiding any activity that needs exertion. Laying down, taking naps, sleeping for some time, and other methods, can be effective in comfortable preparation for the upcoming stages.

11 Massage May Help

A prolonged labor has to be confronted and overcome by total relaxation in order to get into the next critical stages with sufficient strength and readiness. The expectant woman during such period usually seeks any method, being simple or effort-needing, which she think relieves her stress and pain at least a little bit. Some of them, for example, choose massage as one of these ways, although some others believe it is never enough.

Anyhow, massage can be an effective method for pain relief, with the women seeking assistance of her husband for example, by massaging different parts of her body such as her extremities. This procedure may help reducing the intensity of the stressing lengthy labor and making the woman manage better throughout such a sensitive period, at least a part of it. It is important to remind about the necessity to avoid any massaging methods that may harm the baby, but certainly a foot or back massage will be relaxing.

10 Keep Close People Around

Having a beloved person around can be a perfect equivalent to many medications, since the psychological wellness is very essential for the human health, and is greatly responsible for and effective on the health of other body organs and systemic activities. Sometimes the one and only thing the individual needs is their beloved beside them, and everything else would be easier to overcome. This can be the case with a woman struggling with labor.

It happens to be enough for the involved woman to be surrounded by her husband, parents, siblings, and even friends she feels comfortable with. This can aid to an extent in relieving her tension and making her feel that she is not alone in the conflict and is gaining support. The positive feelings she will be getting can lessen the intensity of the labor pain and perhaps direct her thoughts towards the people around her to temporarily forget about her labor.

9 Relax In The Bathtub

Some women seek this method when it is already the time of birth, so as to ease the agonizing pain and help relaxation of the involved muscles. Some others, on the other hand, seek it before that, when their labor is lengthened. This is also called water therapy, which can be considered as a type of massage, since both of them apparently have a mutual purpose.

There is no problem with relaxing in a bathtub full with warm water, which aids in easing the contractions that bring tension and anxiety. It is advised, however, not to use this method during an early labor, since it may lead to slowing down of the entire process, although this is not what women of a prolonged period want, it is said to ease the pain. Also, it must be not forgotten about the adjustment of water temperature to prevent any complications whose majority might impact upon the baby.

8 Breathe Deeply

Breathing can be also helpful, not only during the real process, but also before. The woman has to pay attention to the correct way of breathing, so that she would not be doing it in vain. Breathing has to be slow, deep in both inhalation and exhalation, and would be better if done in the open fresh air.

Maybe breathing does not completely lessen the fluctuating contractions during prolonged labor, but there is no harm of giving it a try. Doing it the wrong way gives a likeliness of increasing tension and painful contractions, and by the wrong way, it is meant the fast superficial breathing in which the air barely gets access to the lungs. Also, breathing with tensed nerves almost does not bring any benefit. It is okay for the women to make sounds while breathing, expressing her pain, as long as it is helping her to feel better.

7 Chest Stimulation 

This method can be used if the woman wants the contraction to come faster, instead of decreasing and quieting. It is stated that stimulation of the nipples of the breasts can accelerate the process of labor and facilitates transition into the phase of delivery and its sequels.

This is attributed to the fact that stimulation of the nipples leads to secretion of oxytocin hormone, and this hormone is known to stimulate labor contractions to become intensified and accelerated to facilitate birth. Of the methods to cause this stimulation can be massaging the nipples gently, or standing under the shower and letting the warm water fall onto the nipples. Some women stated the effectiveness of the latter method. Therefore, this is a way to manage labor, yet by bringing it to an end, and in case it works, it probably indicates the time to finally go to the hospital.

6 Change Positions

Staying in a constant position for a long time is boring in normal life conditions, and thereupon it is expected to be even more boring, and maybe painful, during this period of going through labor. Continuous changing of the woman’s position is helpful for her muscles, and also for the position of the baby. It is however, important to pay attention to being careful during the process of changing positions, so as not to onset sudden additional pain.

The woman can lie on her back or her side, according to what makes her more comfortable. She can also change the sitting position, once raising the legs, and the other leaving them placed on the floor. The position of the baby inside the uterus is important to consider, which raises the necessity of not assuming any type of position that may feel pleasant for the mum, but may be an obstacle to the baby to maintain its regular position, especially when it is in the progress of entering the birth canal.

5 Walking, Sitting, Standing

These are parts of the changing position tip, spoken about earlier. Wrong beliefs about pregnancy are predominant among females in general, and expecting women specifically, and of these beliefs, the one which states the danger of doing any exercise or any activity throughout the nine months, as the fetus would be threatened to be miscarried. The authors of such statement want to point out that the woman has to stay all the time, literally, lying in the bed, and that muscular activity such as walking has unfavorable complications!

Certainly this is completely false. As long as the woman is following her doctor’s instructions and avoiding harsh physical activities, there is no obvious danger upon her or her baby. In fact, movement is necessary for an active blood circulation inside the mother’s body, and an active circulation ensures the health of the fetus, and not the opposite. Walking and exercising is good for pregnant women, just as much as it is when they are not pregnant. Certain exercises can even make labor and recovery easier as the muscles are toned.

4 Do Something You Like

If the woman in labor happens to stay all the time doing nothing but thinking about her labor pain, she will certainly feel even worse, and maybe depressed, which is very likely to reflect on her uterine contractions. While she is at home, she can make use of the time by doing some light household duties such as dusting, or by doing any of the activities she likes and has an interest in, as long as these activities are not accompanied by physical strain.

To mention some examples, she can lay on the sofa and read an interesting book, watch a film, use her laptop for things that bring her fun and not tension, listen to music, especially calm music that allow her to indulge in relaxing imaginations, which can be influential on her pain, causing its soothing. Spending time with something she loves and is happy about, can boost her up and prepare her for the next steps with a good state of mind.

3 Avoid Negativity

Negative people in general should to be avoided all the time, since they can assert unfavorable influences upon a person’s mood, and maybe the person’s entire day, or health state. The condition becomes more sensitive for the pregnant woman, the postpartum woman, and even more, for those under the mercy of labor, being prolonged or immediate.

Negative people surrounding the woman bring her harm rather than benefits, and most probably there are actually no benefits of having them around. Such people can dare to do anything to the person, regardless of their state or condition. They are expected to start talking nonsense about labor, and mentioning wrong information, or correct ones that should not be mentioned in these times. They can bring fright to the poor woman, causing panic, devastation, frenzy, and more and more tension, leading as a consequence to aggravation of labor pain, and multiplication of the suffering.

2 Stop Waiting For It

It is said to stop thinking of something or waiting for it to come, because in most cases it will not, and it is also said that things usually come to the person when they are not waiting, or stopped waiting for them. This can be somehow applied during the wait for labor to progress. This can be also related to stopping the thinking process of the elapsing time and letting oneself follow what the labor’s inconstant episodes indicate. In general, the woman can convince herself with excuses to refrain herself from waiting continuously.

Actually, this tip can be interrelated with the others, because when she is able to relax herself using some or all the aforementioned tricks, the anticipation and anxiety towards the time of birth will be spontaneously and automatically pushed to the subconscious mind, in a way that she appears to be forgetting about the matter not waiting for it, and taking it easily, until it becomes vivid enough to indicate the approaching of birth.

1 When In Hospital Already, Seize It

Sometimes, it happens when the expectant woman has to stay in the hospital during her prolonged labor until that awaited moments come. Her staying can be for any possible reason, for example the recommendation of doctors of better being in the hospital and under clinical supervision, or maybe the women herself decided to go with the thought that it’s the time, and she realized it is still a bit early, yet chose to stay where she is, instead of going and coming back later.

No matter what the reason was, it is good for her to take advantage of her time there. Actually, her condition would be better than coming to the hospital in a big rush and all of a sudden, very rapidly entering the delivery ward. It is like a very fast disturbing scenario, with suspense more than needed. During her stay, she can quietly and calmly prepare her mentality, so that when the time comes, everything will be proceeding with at least some ease, instead of frenzy.

Sources: VeryWell.com, WebMD, Parents.com, FitPregnancy.com, BellyBelly.com

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