A mother envisages her labor to be over in a series of quick pushes and ending with her newborn crying and wriggling in her arms. Though there is no guaranteeing that your labor will be a smooth one, but there are few things that you can do to make your experience better.
There are a variety of factors affecting the duration of labor including the position of the baby, position of the mother during labor, the presence of a supportive person during birth like midwife or doula to name a few. While some of these factors may or may not be in control, these 6 ways will make a positive difference to your birthing experience.
1. Exercise Regularly And Stay Active
Moms are often advised to stay fit during pregnancy by engaging in light exercising and walking. According to a study at the University of Vermont, Burlington women who continue to exercise, especially in the latter half of their pregnancy, have a better course of labor.1
You need not necessarily start doing a workout, even walking for 15-20 minutes every day can help.
2. Have A Good Sleep
The researchers at the University of California found out that women who slept for less than 6 hours at night were 4.5 times more likely to have a c-section delivery.2 Disrupted sleep is also a contributing factor to longer labor.
A good sleep can be rejuvenating and will help conserve your energy before you exert yourself when it is the time to push. Your ever-expanding belly could make it difficult to find the best sleeping position—yet, keep some pillows for additional support and give your body some rest.
3. Hire A Doula Or Have A Mother For Support
You value your partner’s presence who will surely be beside you to give the emotional and mental support. However, a close friend who is also a mother or your own mother will understand better what you are going through and encourage you at each stage.
Hiring a doula has its own benefits—they help reduce stress and anxiety that mothers develop during labor by using touch and massage. A doula won’t provide any health care but they will make your experience a positive one by encouraging and guiding you.
4. Make Regular Trips To Toilet Even In Labor
By the end of your pregnancy period, you would have gotten used to frequent urination—keep relieving yourself more often even when you are in labor.
During contractions you may not be able to make out whether your bladder is full—a fuller bladder could put pressure on the birth canal and make the baby’s descending difficult. Moreover, you might also find it more painful when you are under labor and haven’t relieved yourself for some time.
5. Move Around Till You Can
Take the help of gravity for your baby to descend and be in the right position for birth. Move around and wiggle your hips to encourage your baby move lower into your pelvis. If the movement is restricted and you are on the bed, sit upright and keep changing positions to find one you are more comfortable in.
Alternatively, lie on all fours, lean against the bed or pillows for support, or be in a squat position with the support of your partner—your contractions will be more efficient and there will be a lesser need for pain relief.
6. Prepare Yourself
Your own fear could become your greatest enemy, slowing down your labor or making it more painful. Fear creates stress in the body which could interfere with your contractions.
Be patient with yourself and listen to cues that your body gives—the right time to push, taking a break and breathing. Practicing hypnobirthing could make it easier and help you manage the pain. Breathing techniques will make you relax and stay calm.
Once you have admitted your fear and realized that you have the power and ability to birth your baby, you have already paved a way for an easier and fulfilling birth experience.
|↑1||Clapp Iii, J. F. “The course of labor after endurance exercise during pregnancy.” International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics 36, no. 4 (1991): 348.|
|↑2||Lee, Kathryn A., and Caryl L. Gay. “Sleep in late pregnancy predicts length of labor and type of delivery.” American journal of obstetrics and gynecology 191, no. 6 (2004): 2041-2046.|