You have likely heard many horror stories about the process of labor and birth. People are quick to tell you how long it lasted and how painful it was. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be extremely painful or last forever. There are many things you can and should do to make labor as quick and painless as possible. And, it just might be easier than you think.
Take a Childbirth Class
One of the best ways to help your labor progress is by being informed before it ever begins. Make it a priority to attend a childbirth class. Childbirth classes teach you about pregnancy anatomy and physiology, what happens to your body and baby during labor, how hormones and relaxation methods can contribute to the success or failure of a labor, and things you can do to help your labor progress. Taking a childbirth class will help you make informed, wise choices during labor.
Be Physically Fit
Mothers who are physically fit have an easier time giving birth. When your muscles are toned, they are more likely to work better during labor. In addition, labor is similar to running a marathon; it’s a physically demanding event. The more toned and prepared your body is, the longer you can last without being physically exhausted.
Labor always seems more challenging when you are not well-rested. If you think labor is beginning, make sure to rest between contractions when they are spaced far apart, especially if it is during the night. If labor begins during the day and you are not tired, just rest. Don’t expend the extra energy you will need later when things get intense.
A working uterus needs energy from food or drinks to work most efficiently. When you are in early labor, snack on light foods, such as fruit, yogurt, soup or crackers. If you don’t feel like eating or you feel nauseous, just stay hydrated. Some of the best fluids are water and electrolyte-balancing drinks. According to Birthing Naturally, dehydration decreases the work your uterus can do and makes it much more difficult for you to handle the intensity and stress of each contraction.
Being comfortable in labor is important. Things that can make you more comfortable in labor are music, heat packs, birthing balls, lots of pillows, massage oil or any other object you desire that is safe to use. When you are in labor, you need to feel uninhibited and comfortable in your environment. Turn the lights low, slow dance with your partner, or share intimate kisses and hugs. Do not invite people to your birth who make you feel uncomfortable or just want to attend the event.
Be Mobile and Upright
Mobility in labor is often the key to a quicker labor. Walking around, rocking on a birth ball, relaxing in a birth tub, and changing positions frequently all facilitate a quicker process. Upright positions use gravity to your advantage by helping the baby move down into the pelvis easier than if you are lying down. Many health care providers now realize the benefits of being mobile in labor and encourage it.
Being vocal during labor can help it progress quicker. Being vocal realizes tension, gives your mind something to do other than focus on the pain and helps to vibrate your cervix open. You should not feel embarrassed to be vocal during labor. If it feels good to be vocal, do it. Focus on keeping your noises low in your chest instead of high in your throat. Groaning or growling is more effective than screaming or making high-pitched noises.