I recently sat down with a friend from high school who is now working as a Women's Services Nurse Educator. The hospital she is working for is beginning to offer a natural childbirth session as an add-on to their prepared childbirth class and she was wanting to a little help in coming up with some content for this class. It was an honor to work with her!
And that meeting produced an idea for this blog post. Our time to talk was short and she only has two hours to give her students the best information she can. So, I tried to focus on what I believe are the biggest keys to being successful in one's desire for an unmedicated birth. And with that I give you:
Keys to a Successful Unmedicated Birth:
Every mother who has an unmedicated birth has to find that place in which she is able to relax, let go, and surrender control to this beautiful process. This is pretty big. Absolutely essential, actually. No amount of reading or breathing techniques or squatting will override the inability to do this. And that can be hard for many reasons. Some don't learn how until they've labored for many hours. The earlier you are able to do this, the better it will be. If mom is fearful or anxious or is trying to control her labor, her body will be tense and working against itself. I wish that I could write out some simple steps to learning how to do this, but I can't. It's not that easy. This is something that I have worked through with so many clients. And it's something I'm only able to do in-peson, individulally as each mom's emotions and circumstances and reasons for being unable to surrender are unique. But, I can tell you that it is helpful to practice any and every relaxation technique you are able to throughout your pregnancy. There are many to choose from. Don't learn just one, try a few. It's also helpful to work through anxieties and fears with your spouse, a friend, your mom, a counselor, etc so that when labor begins you are more easily able to surrender.
Something that falls under this category that I've noticed is helpful is mom's ability to ignore her contractions in early labor. I tell my clients over and over and over again: whatever you would normally be doing at the time labor starts (middle of the night=sleeping, noon=make some lunch, do a load of laundry, etc), do it. And ignore the contractions until you absolutely can't any longer. The moms that are able to do this during the early phases of labor, are typically in better spirits and much less exhuasted than those that watched the clock, analyzing duration and frequecy of every contraction and/or tried tricks to make labor faster during early labor. You can not control or predict your labor and birth. No amount of analyzing will allow you to predict who your labor will progress and what the outcome will be. No combination of activities or techniques or tricks will enable you to control your labor and birth. You need to educate yourself and surround yourself with a supportive birth team so that you are able to control how you are cared for during your labor and birth, but you will not be able to control the process itself.
That's it. Two keys. Sounds simple enough, right? It is. But it really isn't.
Amber Piller - Professional Birth Doula and owner of Agape Birth Services. Serving Northwest Houston including Jersey Village, Cypress, Tomball, Spring, and Katy Texas.