- Women's Health»
Labour pain - what helps
Labour is a singularly increadible, enormous, amazing experience that will take you beyond what you normally experience and perhaps beyond what you think you are capable of. Pregnancy and labour are times in your life when everyone offers you advice and if it is your first baby and you are reading this then PLEASE, take from it only that which is useful and relevant to you. I am sharing my own thoughts and experiences, if they don't fit with yours then listen to yourself and just let what I have said go! Seriously, you are your best resource.
There are a few things that I found really helpful. I was not a person (before my first child) that had fixed ideas. I had a plan and preferences but didn't have anything set in stone. Still I was faced with a long induction and a difficult labour that ended in an emergency c-section. I was clear and focused to the end and some of that I think was to do with the basic preparation that I did and some easy and helpful bits and bobs that I want to share with you now.
Hypnobirthing: I used the Natal Hypnobirthing CD's during pregnancy and labour. I am not trained as a hypnotherapist and have never used it in any other context, but I can absolutely vouch for these products. There are a range to suit any choice or plan about labour and also to help and support you with breastfeeding, recovery etc.They are very gentle and help you to garner your inner resources and strengths and think about what you can achieve and how you will protect yourself and your baby. I think the single most important aspect of listening to the CD's was that I became absolutely focused on helping my tiny baby into the world. I was using everyone and everything around me to help her and to keep planning and thinking about what was needed next. I didn't feel anger or fear until afterwards and totally focused on achieveing the outcome that I had spent hours envisaging. My first labour was complicated, long and we used almost all the interventions offered in maternity! I was able to think and discuss (between very powerful and painful contractions) and negotiate for what we wanted for our little girl and was calm throughout - the surgeon at the end couldn't believe how much I was able to do and think about.
Aromatherapy oils: clary sage, lavender and jasmine are three essential oils that are known to be good for helping in labour - both to strengthen contractions and to help keep you calm and relaxed (yes it really is possible...and essential) between contractions. There are a range of great products on the market, but I used Birth Ease products - oils for massage and wax tablets in a burner. Even now, the smell takes me to a relaxed place in seconds and was a helpful way to remind me to give myself eery opportunity to relax and recouperate - even if only for a minute or less.
Water: for me water was an obvious way to help me manage, I love swimming and being at the coast as a child for holidays was always associated with fun and sharing good memories. We hired a pool locally and I used it every day at home for the last few weeks of my pregnancy and as I was overdue it was an absolute blessing. It felt like a lot of money but was utterly worth it. Being in warm water is like nothing else when you are huge and heavy. It also became a very special and protected space that felt like it held and enveloped me and helped me feel less vulnerable. It was very easy to use and the link to the business below is the one that I used - they were fantastic and have been doing it for years.
Yoga: I have done yoga from time-to-time for relaxation and for exercise. I looked through loads of DVD's as being at work til quite late on, meant that I couldn't and didn't want to go to a class after 8hrs in an NHS team! The two that I have given links for are very different in focus but both gentle and useful. I still use both of them now and again, and have them in loft for the next baby!
I did also use some conventional pain relief at times that I needed it and felt that I was able to think enough to make good decisions so that this is not something I felt was "done to me". I would recommend all of the above as tools in your box.
If you are pregnant or thinking about having a baby, don't underestimate how amazing you and your body are. You were made for it.
Kundalini Yoga for a Conscious Pregnancy
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