Most pregnant women worry about the upcoming labor and delivery of their babies. Gathering information and finding ways to cope with the inevitable pain of labor are two ways you can decrease your anxiety and nervousness about your baby’s coming birth. There are many different approaches to labor and delivery. Learn about five common birthing techniques used today.
The Bradley Method
Developed in the 1940s by Dr. Robert Bradley, this method focuses on helping you to deliver your baby naturally with minimal use of drugs for pain control. The focus is on nutrition and exercise during pregnancy as your body readies for labor and delivery, having your husband or partner as your birthing coach and using relaxation exercises to control pain. The Bradley Method teaches you to focus on your body and find a calm center as you listen and work with your body to gain strength as you birth your baby.
This method discourages the use of ultrasound, episiotomies and regional anesthesia. Midwives are encouraged in lieu of physicians.
In 1993, a long-time labor and delivery nurse named Sarah McMoyler developed a method of prepared childbirth that focuses on a goal of having a healthy mom and baby at the end of the process. No matter how you get there–the end will justify the means.
Coaches are very involved with the McMoyler Method–relaxation techniques and coping strategies are often practiced by coaches so they are comfortable coaching you through the process. McMoyler focuses on ways to cope with contractions, encourages you to stay flexible as your birth unfolds and fosters communication between your health care team and you so the best choices can be made. The time in between contractions is just as important as the contractions you experience, according to McMoyler–relaxing between contractions helps you to regroup and refocus on the work ahead.
The Lamaze Method is the oldest in the United States. This method utilizes several different distraction techniques–such as active concentration, patterned breathing and focal points for you–to help you cope with the pain and discomfort of labor and delivery.
You and your partner will be taught different labor and delivery positions and their effect on the birth process, as well as communication skills that will help you work with your health care team. Support is a major key for a positive birth and postpartum experience, according to the Lamaze Method. Coaches are taught massage techniques as well as other coaching strategies that will help you deal with the pain of birthing your baby.
Hypnobirthing is a fairly new method that is spreading across the country. This method focuses on self-hypnosis for you that creates a peaceful and calm place to experience the birth of your child. This method also focuses on exercise during pregnancy to get your body ready to deliver your baby. Abdominal breathing, guided imagery and visualization are used to facilitate the process of self-hypnosis to help you cope with the pain and discomfort of labor and delivery. You will learn how to use those tools to put yourself in a state of hypnosis, and some moms report feeling little or no pain with the birthing process.
Natural childbirth is defined by many different parameters–from no medical intervention of any kind to only medical intervention that is necessary to facilitate a safe birth. This technique focuses on teaching you and your coach different labor positions and what they mean for labor and delivery. You and your coach also learn pushing positions that are most effective. Abdominal breathing and adaptations of traditional abdominal breathing are also a focus for this technique.