Monday, July 13, 2009

Stand and Deliver

I suppose that since several people I know have recently had babies or soon will, I was thinking about pregnancy, labor, and childbirth while I was deciding on a topic for today. Many people are a little apprehensive about childbirth. Ok - some are terrified. I think most people are afraid of the pain. Your body has to do a lot of stretching to accommodate a baby. But labor and birth are natural functions of the female body. Women have been having babies for thousands of years and, for most of that time, without epidurals.

Don't take it lying down. One of the best ways to reduce labor pain and help baby descend is to MOVE. Stand up, walk around, rock, get on all fours. During both of my labors the pain was terrible if I was on my back. My second labor (home birth) was better than my first (hospital birth), partly because I was always moving and almost always upright. My midwife examined me once and I didn't get up before the next contraction hit. Gravity is your friend. Let it help you.

When it's time to push your baby out, you don't have to jump in bed. Your baby will be born more easily if you stand or squat. Your pelvis opens more in a squatting position than in others. And again, gravity is your friend.

Here are some more tips for easing labor pain. Your local library should have some books to help you understand what happens to your body during labor and childbirth. Knowing what to expect reduces your fear. What to Expect When You're Expecting is a popular choice, but I don't think it's nearly as good as some others out there. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth is good. Go to your library and check out everything listed under "natural childbirth." If you haven't already, read Alex's post about water birth.

1 comment:

  1. Heart and Hands is a midwife's guide to birthing... Standing is good. Sometimes too good! For women who have had 2,3 or more children in a short period of time, less than 2.5 years apart each laying on your side with knee to chest or on all fours helps maintain steady progression and help prevent excessive bleeding and/ or hemmoraging. Standing may bring baby too fast when Mom is quite experienced. Good post. And Remember substitute the word "pain" with intense, awesome sensations and I am spreading!