There isn’t a single woman out there who would wish to have an extremely painful labor. But even with that, there are countless women out there who have this experience on a just about daily basis. Honestly, the pain that women go through during labor is excruciating and the worst part is that they don’t realize that just taking a few simple steps and doing a few basic things has the potential to reduce the amount of pain that they feel. That’s right. There are quite a few things that you need to pay attention to during labor, but the effort that you put into them will allow you to have a much less painful experience.
Instead of screaming your lungs out and blurting out the funniest or even the most obscene things during labor, avoid doing the things mentioned below and you’ll be in the position to prevent labor from being more painful than it should be. Here’s what you need to refrain from:
7 #: Lying straight on your back
There are quite a few disadvantages of lying on your back during labor. To begin with, it puts all of the weight of your uterus and baby on your back. The worst part about this is that it may impede your blood supply. Also, in such a position, your uterus is going to contract forward, which will prevent you from working with gravity – instead, you will work against it, thereby end up having an even more prolonged and painful labor. For this reason, it is highly recommended for you to avoid taking on any positions during labor that will have you on your back all through it. Instead, it is best for you to choose upright and forward-leaning positions if possible. Just in case you need a bit of a break, it is recommended for you to rest on your side – just make sure that you don’t lie down on your back. Also, unless you are taking a break, you must also avoid reclining at all times as it will not help you out at all in progressing your labor and delivery.
The thing with lying on the back during labor and delivery is that it triggers unbearable pain. This is because the back of the baby’s head continues to push really hard against the mother’s sacrum all through the contractions that she has. The worst part about lying straight on your back during labor is that it has the potential to slow down, or even stop cervical dilation. Just so you know, it might even prevent the baby’s head from rotating to a face-down position. It is for this reason that most cases of ‘posterior arrest’ occur in laboring women. In such a case, it is necessary for the doctors to resolve this issue with the help of Pitocin, epidurals, forceps and even a C-section if need be. For this reason, it is highly recommended for you to refrain from lying down on your back during labor. Instead, it is best for you to assume an upright and/or forward leaning position that will assist you in progressing labor without having excruciating pain.
6 #: The fear of labor
What does fear have to do with making labor more painful? Well, a lot to be honest. To begin with, when we fear something, our bodies basically tense up. In such a situation, we don’t breathe properly, our bodies tighten up and become a whole lot more sensitive to pain. But the good news is that there are plenty of things that you can go so as to combat the fears that you have pertaining to labor. To begin with, it is necessary for you to get properly educated about the entire labor process with the help of book and good quality information. Also, you should consider joining pregnancy and birth groups that best support the choices that you have made. If need be, you may also form a support group and talk about your fears with people you believe understand you best. Instead of spending time in the company of people who can only tell you about horror stories of labor and delivery, start hanging out with positive people who support and understand your choices.
To be honest, we all fear the unknown, so if this is your first baby, there is a good chance that you are scared of the entire labor and delivery procedure. There will be countless people around you telling you how difficult and painful labor is. Surely you’ve also seen it on TV and your friends have confirmed your fears that it will be the most excruciatingly painful experience of your life. I know someone who was stopped by this woman on the street who only wanted to tell her how horrible her labor was and that it’s best for “you to get the epidural as soon as possible”. With such a lot of negativity surrounding labor, it is natural for you to fear the process. But to put things right for you, much of your fears have nothing to do with what the delivery procedure really is like and are merely that – FEARS; nothing more, nothing less. So, instead of fretting over things, focus on having a safe and healthy pregnancy, and let things flow during labor – you’ll be just fine!
5 #: Not realizing the benefits of having a doula
When going through labor, it is highly recommended for women to have experienced and skilled birth support around her. If not, there is a good chance that she will feel fearful, which will in turn trigger stress, and if a laboring woman is stressed out, she is bound to feel a whole lot more painful. What you need to bear in mind is the fact that your obstetrician is going to spend very little time with you in the delivery room – she is not going to be there with you the whole time, so you will be left to deal with much on your own. Even hospital midwives are not going to be there all through your labor as they have to tend to several women at a time. For this reason, if you are in labor and having trouble coping with it, then the entire experience is going to become significantly more painful for you. However, you can make things far easier for yourself by taking on the services of a doula.
For those who don’t know, doulas are trained birth support providers who have just what it takes to make the entire experience of labor and delivery much less painful and stressful. With a doula around, you can rest-assured that the event is going to be rather relaxed and you will be supported all through it by a complete professional. Some people even claim that having a doula around during labor and delivery was far more effective as compared to the hospital staff. This is because the support they provide is unlike that provided by anyone else. Moreover, as you already know the doula, you are bound to feel more comfortable and relaxed with her. The best part is that you will get to receive continuous, one-on-one support as she is not going to leave your side at all.
The thing with doulas is that they put in an effort to build a relationship with you, and through them, you will get to learn a lot about delivery and labor well before time. The best part is that you will also benefit from the skills they have in terms of pain management during labor.
4 #: Having a stressful birthing environment
There are plenty of reasons why you might have a stressful birth environment. For instance, you may have too much happening around you, have someone with you in the birth room that you don’t want to be there, or maybe you feel as if someone or the other is constantly interrupting you etc. All of these aspects can truly stress you out during labor, and as we’ve already discussed, stress can make it extremely hard for you to cope with the pain.
In order to make the process easier for yourself, it is highly recommended for you to choose a group of great support people so that you don’t stress out during labor. With all these people around, all of your needs will be fulfilled. If there are people who are not experienced in birth support, then make them read up a few tips on the internet so they can help you out more. All the members of your support group will work together to make sure that you get through the toughest moments of your labor and delivery as smoothly as possible. However, just in case your support group is not able to rally together as you expected them to, it is best for you to take the quickest escape route and get intervention so that you don’t stress out even more – don’t even bother with trying to hold your birth support team together; it isn’t worth it at all.
The thing with stress is that it shuts down labor due to the stress hormone called catecholamine. In nature, it helps stop labor when a laboring animal starts feeling disturbed or threatened. Similarly, if a laboring woman becomes tensed and stressed out, her labor is going to prolong as the levels of catecholamine levels in her body continue to rise. A major reason why women prefer to deliver their babies at the hospital is because they believe hospitals are safe. However, the unfortunate fact is that there are quite a few things in hospital delivery rooms that play a role in triggering fear and stress in a laboring woman – things like lack of privacy, intrusions, machines, strangers and a whole lot more. But even with all that happening around, it is vital for women to remain calm at all times.
3 #: Inducing or augmenting labor with artificial oxytocin
Inducing labor is at times unavoidable due to the health of the mother or her baby. In such a case, it is best for you to trust your doctor and make the right decision – a decision that is best for you and your baby. However, in case there isn’t a medical need that requires urgent attention, it is best for you to let nature take its toll so that your body may start laboring on its own. Although some women consider it a lifesaver, believe it or not but being medicated with a drug that is meant to help enhance labor so that the baby may come out quickly can prove extremely painful for most women. Just so you know, artificial oxytocin is meant for situations when it is vital for the baby to get our right away. When labor starts, you would obviously want to get the baby out, but before augmenting labor with artificial oxytocin, you should know that there will be other interventions too. For this reason, it is best for you to weigh up the risks and see if it really is worth it. To be honest, it is best for you to accept an induction only if it is totally necessary.
See, labor is only induced in certain cases. These include having your pregnancy go up by a week or two past the estimated due date, not having active labor contractions even after your water has broken, suffering from a condition that might threaten your health or that of your baby’s in case the pregnancy continue. These conditions include diabetes, preeclampsia, lung disease, placenta abruption and high blood pressure etc. Labor is also induced in cases where the baby suffers from a condition that requires immediate treatment, and the risks associated with a vaginal delivery are low. However, if there is immediate danger, or a risk that the baby might get harmed during vaginal delivery, it is best for a C-section to be performed right away.
Apart from these cases, at times women have their labor induced even if there isn’t a medical need for it. If this is what you want, then make sure that there aren’t any risks associated with it, and that you are at least 39 weeks pregnant.
2 #: Not knowing about natural pain relief options
When you start laboring, it is highly recommended for you to start with natural pain relief options instead of opting for medical ones right away. Believe it or not, there are quite a few natural pain relief options that are extremely effective. For this reason, it is best for you to learn about natural pain relief during your pregnancy so you have all the information you need at hand during labor.
Women who don’t know about natural pain relief during labor simply ask for the drugs, but what they don’t know is that these drugs have a lot of side-effects too. The thing with most of these drugs is that although they have the potential to numb down the pain completely, they set off other courses of action, which in turn triggers significant pain later on. The worst part is that these even lead to complications that are worse than the pain itself. To begin with, epidurals tend to immobilize you, which means that you will not be in the position to have an active labor. In turn, you will not be able to help your baby move down. Moreover, there are plenty of other risks as well that you need to consider so make sure that you look into them before opting for drugs. Unless the epidural wears off, there is no way that you will be able to feel yourself push, which means that you just might end up pushing ineffectively. This may lead you to have either a vacuum, forceps or caesarean birth.
Instead of using drugs, it is highly recommended for you to try out natural pain relief options. Some of these are:
- Massage – No, there is no need for you to have a professional come down to massage you. Whoever your birthing partner is, s/he can give you a few loving, soothing strokes, which will help calm down your anxiety.
- Aromatherapy – With the nice smell of aromatherapy, it will be possible for you to relax greatly.
- A relaxed environment – This is pretty self-explanatory, right?
All in all, don’t opt for drugs right away – give natural pain relief a chance and you will surely benefit from it!
1 #: Having your baby in the posterior position
Posterior babies basically have their spine against their mothers’ spine, which makes back labor significantly more challenging for the laboring mothers. The reason for this is that they have strong back pain together with normal labor pain. This is because in the posterior position, the baby’s bony part of the head presses against the bony part of the mother’s pelvis. So when the mother has a contraction, its pressure basically forces the baby’s head into the pelvis which, as is obvious, causes severe back pain. At times, it is possible for such women to feel the pressure even between their contractions. So along with the basic pain of labor, a woman who has a posterior baby experiences a whole lot more back pain, thereby making the labor process fairly tough.
Considering that the posterior position places bone near bone, it becomes somewhat difficult for the baby to fit into the mother’s pelvis. For this reason, delivering a posterior baby requires longer labor, and in case the baby continues to remain in the posterior position, the second stage of labor may get longer than average too. On the whole, the entire experience of delivering a baby in the posterior position can get rather tiring and overwhelming for the laboring mother. Along with a longer than average labor, it may also be necessary to use artificial oxytocin to speed up the labor a bit, use epidural so as to numb down the severe pain and/or perhaps even deliver the baby via a cesarean surgery.
If you have your baby in the posterior position, it is highly recommended for you to consider checking out optimal fetal positioning. Through it, you will be able to encourage your baby into an anterior or front position. The best part is that there are several simple tools, tricks and positioning activities that you can try out for it. For instance, when you sit, it is best for you to sit in such a way that you have your bum right above your knees so that the position of the pelvis can be changed. Try out a few of these tricks and see if you can get your baby in the anterior position.