What helped me during my natural labor? This is a question many pregnant mothers ask. I have a couple friends currently that are pregnant and will soon be having their beautiful babies. I wanted to make a list of what helped me personally be able to get through a natural birth with out drugs. I believe knowledge is power and so I tried my best to read as much information as I could in order to have a smooth delivery. I wanted to have natural births without drugs but I also hate pain. So I figured I would do as much research as possible so that I could try to get the best outcome, or at least have a little less pain or just a shorter period of pain. I feel like by doing all I could personally do, it gave me a feeling of having some control of the events to come. I always kept an open mind, that yes there are times you might need intervention but meanwhile I wanted to be in control of my body.
I having a plan of how I would manage my pain and labor helped me feel like I could get through it all and not be afraid. I knew that in reality I could do this naturally like the many women before me had done. In the picture here on the side of this paragraph, I just gave birth to my baby naturally and in my face you can see that I’m thinking “I can’t believe I just got through that!” But I did and both my labors turned out great. Remember everyone is different, this is what worked for me personally, you might have your own experience of what worked for you. And of course always remember to consult with your doctor before you do anything new! Here is my list of what helped me get through my natural labors, in no specific order:
1. Relax! – I know this sounds kind of crazy to say or imply when the contractions are coming on strong and all you want to do is run away…but it makes a huge difference in how your labor progresses.
You want to be as calm as possible to allow your body to do its thing and open up. So do what ever makes you relaxed. For me it was relaxing spa music for my first , it kept me focused on the ocean waves instead of the pain. My second baby came so quickly, that I really had no time or desire for relaxing music. I think I would have done better with dancing music for the second to tell you the truth! I also used calming and relaxing essential oils that I breathed in through my nose with deep breaths. I used a oil like this Labor Oil to massage my stomach and back, and the essential oils in it are suppose to help in labor, plus it smells great! And another tip, turn those lights down low. Try to make the room as comfortable with lighting, sounds and smells that are calming.
2. Organic, Raspberry Leaf – I love and hate this tea! I love it because for me it really worked, but hate it because I drank so much of it during the end of my pregnancy I became so sick of drinking it! This tea has been used for hundreds of years to help tone and strengthen the uterine muscles which is helpful during labor. There was even a small study done on it in 1998 and the findings suggest that the raspberry leaf herb can help to shorten labour with no identified side effects for the women or their babies. Also, the study seems to indicate that women who ingest raspberry leaf might be less likely to receive an artificial rupture of their membranes, or require a caesarean section, forceps or vacuum birth than the women in the control group. You can read more about that study here. I started taking this tea the last month of my pregnancy, a whole lot of it! Then on the day when my contractions started, I boiled some water and made a super concentrated tea, letting it steep with a lid for 10min. I did not take the tea until I arrived at the hospital, just in case it worked to fast! I had done the Rasberry Leaf tea with my first during the end, but I never did the super concentrated dose at the hospital like I did with my 2nd. Let’s just say with the second I had the baby within 30 mins, the doctor had not arrived and the nurse delivered the baby. I was totally ok with that because I knew my body was doing what it needed. It was strong contractions for the second, but I got through them, and it was fast. Here is a link if you want to get a large order of Organic, Raspberry Leaf tea for a better price then at the store. I was going through boxes of this like crazy at the end! If you don’t like drinking tea, you can also take the Capsules instead.
3. Tummy Lift and Tuck – This is a technique that was made popular by by Janie McKoy King, a Texas Engineer who wrote Back Labor No More!!: What Every Woman Should Know Before Labor. I bought the book and used the technique in the hospital during my second labor. I think the combination of all the little tricks I did with my second is what helped get the baby in the right position and out so quickly. I highly recommend this technique, and here is a summary of it if you have no time to get the book ! If you do have time and would like to get the book and read it all, you can get a good deal here .
4. Support Network – For me, my husband has been my rock during all my labors. He has held me, bathed me and encouraged me when I thought I couldn’t keep going! You need someone with you, someone you trust to keep you going and cheering you on. Let them know in advance what you like and what you find annoying!
And also sometimes other friends and family want to be there with you, but if you do not feel comfortable make sure you let them know. You can not progress your labor quickly if you are stressed and feeling embarrassed. You need to be relaxed and in your zone, so do what ever makes you feel good!
5. Reflexology – I did reflexology with both labors using pressure points on my feet and hands to help with pain. With my second, I was so ready to just have the baby so I went to my local mall which has a reflexology place and told the girl to do a massage to help induce the labor. She told me that the last pregnant lady she did it on had it within 24 hours. I had it done, it was quite painful under my foot and around the ankle bone, but I figured if it works then keep pressing! And guess when my baby boy was born? 24 hours later!
6. Movement – I tried to exercise as much as I could and be active during my pregnancy. I did stretching to help my body be flexible and ready for the marathon of labor. I did work out videos made for during pregnancy and I found it helped with back pain and just feeling good.
I also loved dancing and did as much as possible, of course with my hubby near incase I tipped! And during labor I tired to stay upright and walking as much as possible until the contractions were too fast and painful. Then instead of going on my back like I did with my first, (which by the way took 2 hours to push out the baby..) I went on my hands and knees and rocked back and forth during the contractions. Only at the very end when the baby was about to come out I quickly turned for the nurse so she could catch him! Not only did i find it way more comfortable and natural, the baby just seemed to slide right out compared to the first time.
7. Visualization – This sounded a little funny to me before I went into labor, but I found it actually keeps you focused on what your body needs to do. So during a contraction, visualize your body opening up and preparing for the baby to come out. I found this very important especially during the very painful contractions at the end when I wanted to give up and just scream for the drugs! Then I remembered that this is the “transition period” the most painful time when your body is dilating from about 8 to 10 centimeters to let the baby out. And with both, after the period was over, I would get checked and it was always the time to push. I figured if I can just get past this pain, it will soon be time to push and get that cute baby in my arms. It’s like you are running and you get a prize at the end, but you need to endure all the obstacles before the finish line.
As crazy as it sounds I tried to see the pain as a helper in order to get my baby out. Of course it was natural birth pains, I was never induced, which I know is very painful. But the main point is work with your body and relax! Seeing my baby for the first time was an beautiful feeling that made it all worth while. This picture is after her first bath at the hospital.
8. Evening Primrose – EPO is suppose to help the cervix to soften and efface or thin out. I started taking a little a week before my due date and also internally a couple days before. Also, when I got to the hospital and they told me I was only 3 centemiters and to go home, I quickly inserted one in! I also did all of the above things, but it was a good thing I didn’t go home because the baby would have been born in the car! Here is a link to some info on it, or you can buy it online by going to this link Organic Evening Primrose Oil Softgels, 60-Count Bottle
These are the main things that helped get me through my natural drug free labor. What helped you? And remember I had 2 great labors with my babies, with no complications. But not everyone is the same, so don’t stress if things don’t turn out the way you imagined. Relax and go with the flow but be informed! And don’t forget to consult your doctor or midwife before starting anything new. Please share your tips that helped get you through your natural labor by commenting below.
Image Of Pregnant Woman Touching Her Belly courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net