Secrets To A Faster And Easier Labor
For sure, labor is not a walk in the park – at least for most of us. The thought of giving birth in only a few weeks time, makes a lot of moms-to-be very anxious. But there is no need to panic! There are a few simple things you can do to shorten labor and delivery and mange pain naturally. These are true secrets to a faster and easier labor.
As I got closer and closer to my due date, I felt the urge to prepare myself for this big event as much as I could. So did a lot of research. I wanted to know how to not feel anxious about giving birth, as well as what to do to make labor less painful, quicker and a bit easier, naturally. Confused at first, I was left with tons and tons of contradicting advice. Some tips proofed themselves helpful. Of some I knew, they simply would not work for me. After figuring out what was right for me, I eventually got to have an extremely positive, empowering and relaxed first birth experience. I discovered, there are secrets to a faster and easier labor. Here are my tips on what really can improve labor and delivery for you and your baby.
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Baby in Right Position
Honestly, the baby being in the right position for birth is already half the battle to a quick, straightforward and easier delivery. If the baby is facing your back with the head down, delivery will be less problematic. This fetal position reduces the risks of a need for further medical intervention and c-section. The reason is, that in this so-called occipito-anterior position, the baby will be able to move through pelvis and birth passage with less effort.
Though there is little scientific evidence that it will bring you baby in the ideal position, kneeling on hands and knees is often recommended by experts. I found that it worked for me. Adopting this hands-knee position several times a day for short periods in the last trimester, encouraged my baby to settle in the optimal position for birth relatively early.
Many woman swear by eating dates for an easier labor. So do I. Dates are said to have an oxytocin-like effect. Oxytocin is a hormone that plays a major role in the progress of labor, as it stimulates contractions, the ripening of the cervix and dilating. Different studies suggest that eating six dates a day during the last month of pregnancy can indeed lead to a faster and easier labor. It reduces the risks of premature rupture of the amniotic sac, as well as the need for c-sections and labor induction. On top of that, studies showed that woman who eat dates in their months leading up to labor dilated faster and more easily. Furthermore, they were more likely to go into labor spontaneously.
Admittedly, I only started eating six dates a day when I started to sense that I will be overdue. This was two weeks before I got into labor. For me, labor started spontaneously the day I was booked in for an induction. But more importantly, the midwives where astonished by how quickly I was dilating.
One of the top secrets to a faster and easier labor, is reading and internalizing positive affirmations. When my anxiety about giving birth was at its top, I started reading positive affirmations and birth stories every night before I went to sleep. Doing this, incredibly reduced my fear of giving birth and gave me better dreams. It also helped me staying calm and relaxed during labor and delivery. Especially, when pain was at its peak or during the pushing part, I was glad to recall the positive affirmations that kept me going and motivated. Hypnotherapy might be a great technique, too.
Immersion in warm water during labor can reduce stress and ease pain. Having a warm shower or taking a warm bath is a great way to relax your mind and muscles. I found that a slightly massaging shower on my back and abdomen increased my comfort level and acted as a pain relief. Having a shower is an awesome technique to cope with pain and stress in the early stages of labor. Unless, you are planing on a water birth, don’t take a bath in more progressed labor, though. Delivery can happen surprisingly faster than expected. Plus, you might underestimate how far labor has progressed due to the water’s relaxing effect on your muscles.
Chose your birth partner(s) wisely. Because, a great secret to a faster and easier labor is good support during labor. No matter if you chose to have your partner present, a good friend, your mom or a doula, good support during labor and delivery has immense benefits for mother and baby. The right support can improve the overall birth experience and lead to shorter labor. Experts found that good support during childbirth can reduce stress levels, relief pain, and lowers risks of the need for medical intervention. Find out more about support during labor.
Have a birth plan ready way before your official due date and talk through it with your birth partner. It does reduce anxiety and lets you feel more in control. On the one hand, you will be able to visualize what birth will be like and help you be informed. On the other hand, it will give medical staff an idea on how you wish your ideal labor to be, so they can act towards it. I personally found that having a written birth plan, while being open to adjustments as needed during birth, increased my whole birth experience. The midwives tried to stick to it as much as possible, even when I was too exhausted to remember what I wanted in the first place.
Keeping mobile and adopting different positions as neededis the key to a faster and easier labor. Staying active through out labor and changing to different positions can be great for pain management and labor progress. Walking and using a birth ball, like The Birth Ball for example, can stimulate contractions when things are slowing down. Additionally, squatting, kneeling and upright positions can help the baby to get into an optimal position and to pass through the pelvis.
Sleep, Food, Hydration
Childbirth is exhausting, tiring and extremely strenuous. Get enough sleep in advance. Although it won’t be easy, get some rest in the early stages of labor, too. You might not get much sleep once the baby’s out. You should not underestimate that, believe me. I didn’t sleep for 52 hours straight and after birth kept dangerously nodding of when holding my newborn during the first feeds.
Eating little snacks and staying hydrated during labor, will make delivery a lot easier, too. Make sure you are all fueled up. You will lose a lot of fluids and sweat. Maybe, you will – like me – experience an unquenchable thirst. Also keep your energy level up with little snacks, while you still can. You probably won’t be allowed to eat anything once you are using an epidural or getting prepared for a c-section.
Perineal Massages And Kegels
Prepare your birth passage upfront. If done regularly from 35 weeks of pregnancy up to childbirth, perineal massages can prepare the perineum for stretching. Therefore, it can prevent tearing and reduce uncomfortable stretching sensations during birth. Additionally, practice your kegel exercises regularly. Kegels strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and help them support uterus, bowel and bladder. Practicing Kegel exercises is very beneficial for bladder control during pregnancy and post partum. Furthermore, you will gain better control over the muscles needed for pushing or relaxing during labor and delivery. This could shorten the pushing phase and make the hardest pats a little easier for you.
Receiving acupressure between contractions can shorten the amount of time that is actually spent in active labor. In case the labor progress is slowing down, acupressure can stimulate contractions to increase, again. Effective acupressure points for a faster and easier labor are on the inside of your legs about a hand’s width above the ankle and on the top of your hand in the webbing between index finger and thumb. Try to apply gentle pressure to each of these points for about a minute, one side at a time. This can be very effective, so check with your midwife/doctor first.
Using aromatherapy during labor can be a great method to relax, manage pain and aid the labor progress, naturally. One way aromatherapy works is by diffusing essential oils in the air. Lavender oil, for example, has a wonderfully calming effect on the birthing mother while reducing pain levels and lifting the mood. Clary sage in aromatherapy has a similarly sedating effect. Furthermore, clary sage oil can shorten labor, because it stimulates and intensifies contractions. In case you are having a pitocin drip, you might not be able to use clary sage oil, as this combination could cause contractions to become too strong. Due to its effectiveness, aromatherapy is definitely one of the top secrets to a faster and easier delivery.