My husband suggested that I share some of the tips that got me through labor five times since they worked pretty well for us.
1. Think of labor as a game. It is a game you are playing with yourself. The goal of the game is to keep all of the muscles of your body loose and relaxed during a contraction. Of course as you "master" each level, the game gets harder! I found that thinking of it this way sped up my labors a little bit by not fighting my body in getting to the magic 10 cm!
2. Try to stay active in early labor. The easiest way I found to do that was to simply continue doing my everyday activities with short breaks through contractions. I remember vacuuming during early labor, folding clothes, and even talking on the phone! This was so much more interesting and got much better results than arriving too early at the hospital and just loitering ever did!
3. But if you feel like you need to take a nap do it. That's your body telling you what it needs for the challenge ahead! I remember laying down in the middle of labor with my third child Gabe, and taking a 2-hour nap. I awoke well rested and ready to proceed. Good thing too as this turned out to be an almost 11 pound baby!
4. Have people around you who aren't afraid of birth and the birth process. My doula, midwife and homebirth doctor were all very supportive during my births. We talked, laughed, and had a very nice time between contractions. I have some very nice memories of those births.
5. To totally relax, and let the cervix open my doula taught me a very neat trick. Open the mouth, keep the jaw loose and make a low, deep vocalization, almost like a hum or a moan. When you do that, it is almost impossible to tighten the perineum and the lower pelvis, and that gives the body the opportunity to open. When the pain increased and my voice would go up, my caregivers and husband would encourage me to keep my voice low and deep and not work against the contractions. With this technique I was able to birth three babies, all over 9 pounds.
Worked for Me!
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