All posts tagged: active birth

Essentials for Labour & Birth

Sometimes the small details can make a huge difference to your mindset, to how labour flows and how you manage energy and work with your contractions. DRINK WATER: so you don’t become dehydrated and tired EAT: you may need energy REST: to conserve your energy BREATHE: know how to control your breathing to stay calm, focused and to handle any panic or anxiety. If you can use your breathing, you can get rid of any tension MOVE: use gravity and different positions to stay comfortable and to work with your contractions SAY WHAT YOU NEED: only you know how you are feeling and what feels right for you BE WELL PREPARED: read well, invest in good antenatal classes so you have knowledge about your options, what may help and what may not ASK QUESTIONS: so you know what is going on and what your options are FEEL SAFE: have the support you need, be where you want to be, do what feels right – this can help your labour work well DON’T FEAR YOUR CONTRACTIONS: …

Tonight’s antenatal classes – strategies and options…

In my antenatal course I always include a session which pulls together everything the parents have looked at in previous sessions – early labour, established labour and birth – to catch any questions, to talk through any concerns, to focus on labour and birth again after learning information and thinking about what they may need. This is a challenging session because parents do open up about their fears and concerns – tonight’s were dealing with pain, what if they need to be assertive, what if labour is long, what if they panic? This session is about talking through all of this and taking the time to do it. It is also about straight-talking: labour and birth can be so varied, have some kind of plan for what you might need, say what you need and communicate this as often as you want to. I do think it is important to always refer to: what do I need? This is ever changing throughout labour – it can be physical needs such as warmth, food, water or …

Why giving birth might not be what you expect…

TV images have a lot to answer for and we have built up an expectation of a bed and stirrups and pushing until we are red in the face. Birth can be like this but it is certainly not the norm. I use images in my antenatal classes to provoke some discussion and a lot of parents are quite surprised at what real birth can look like – in pools, standing, kneeling, using upright positions on a bed. Even lying on your side after an epidural will probably be more effective than lying on your back. Labour and birth is often about going with what feels right and what is more comfortable for you. However, exhaustion after a long labour can affect how involved you are – by that point, birth could be about lying on a bed because you are struggling to find the physical and emotional energy to do anything else. But where there is energy and good support, there can be different positions and use of gravity and lying down really might …

Positions for labour & birth

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) promotes the use of different positions for labour and birth to enable labouring women to feel comfortable and to help labour to flow. The RCM states that: “Gravity is the greatest aid in giving birth but for historical reasons we can make women give birth on their backs. These resources can be used to help women understand and practice alternative positions during pregnancy, to feel free to be mobile and to use different positions during labour and birth.” The key to using positions and movement in labour is to listen to your body, to allow instinct to take over so you use positions for rest and for your contractions. Positions for labour & birth: get comfy and let your body do what it needs to do… You can sit on a ball or a chair to be upright. For extra support you can lean on someone or use the bed, a chair or a sling. If you are moving around, you may want to lean into the wall or …