When I got pregnant, and soon after I found out, I did not even try to think or imagine how would labour be like. I knew I will get pregnant one day but I’ve never pictured myself going through labour. This thought only hit me when I was probably 15 weeks pregnant and I started to panick a bit. I did not know anything about it and did not pay attention to any stories that I ‘accidentally’ heard before. I am 36+5 weeks today and I must admit that I’ve been going through stages of pre-labour that mentally consumed me to a point when I was dreaming at night that I was giving birth (luckily it wasn’t a nightmare).
First of all, I strongly believe that every woman should do a bit of research, inform and educate herself before going into labour. As scary as this event seems to be you are mainly responsible for trying to turn this experience into a less traumatic one. Of course, no one can guarantee that any amount of information that comes your way or reading and hearing stories will ever get you ready for it. It is certain that every woman feels and experience different things while in labour, and most of them are related to the pain you are supposed to go through.
In order to begin my ‘labour research’ I started watching Youtube tutorials (not the scary ones!!). Video lasted about 15 minutes and my heart was beating exceedingly fast so my first thought is that I will definitely not be able to go through such thing, even though the video presented an easy birth where the girl had an epidural. There are so many videos on Youtube and I consider some of them out of order. Who would need or ask to see a live birth in details? I don’t even want to see mine! I better watch a horror movie. I stayed away from the ‘bloody images’. I continued watching other good videos that represent only GOOD, positive birth stories and I watched tutorials of women who had a completely natural birth, without anesthetic, and want to send a message to everyone that this is not impossible. I have saved some of them on my Youtube so if anyone wants to have a look just let me know. 🙂
My research also consisted in reading about labour and delivery, pain relief, alternative births, relaxation techniques, and I have attended a workshop with a midwife where I got all my information regarding the hospital policy, obviously the one I’m booked to give birth at. Here are some of my favourite pain relief methods:
This technique became popular in the UK in the first half of 20th Century and came in the help of women, mainly those that did not use any drugs during labour and tried to eliminate the fear of delivery, encouraging women to adopt a happy, positive attitude towards it. It is proved that any woman who practiced it had a less traumatic experience, was able to stay relaxed throughout the process and needed less medical intervention. There are courses you can attend with your partner/ birth partner/ on your own or in a group with other mums to be. Courses are held by qualified midwives. They can be a bit expensive and I don’t know how they set the prices because I’ve got different quotes from different midwives and cities. If you do not wish to go ahead and attend the classes, you can just go on Youtube and watch tutorials for free. I have not been to any classes, I have only ended up watching Youtube and learnt some breathing techniques for different stages of the labour and delivery. They say you must practice them every day if you want them to be efficient. I did not – I was maybe too busy or I did not remember, but I must admit it does make you feel relaxed. Many women who practiced hypnobirthing have chosen a home birth.
🙂 If everything goes well and there are no complications I will maybe have a water birth. This is not my plan though as I didn’t really set my mind on anything. I’ll just go with the flow. 🙂 Water births are known to easy the pain (not take it away), prevent tearing and reduce the risk of episiotomy, help you feel calm and relaxed. I heard many stories of women who felt so much more comfortable being in water. And guess what, at the hospital where I’m booked at, even your partner can join you in the water (I don’t think that this will happen in my case as I’m the type who prefers to be left alone while in pain). If your iron level is low, you cannot give birth in water as you will be continuously monitored to avoid excesive blood loss.
If you decide to have a water birth keep in mind that you won’t be able to use any pain relief other than Etonox (gas & air) and probably aroma therapy, and paracetamol. Most of the women who had a water birth admited that they didn’t need any other form of pain relief anyway.
Some women choose to be in the pool only during labour and have a ‘dry’ delivery. Some are scared and believe the baby won’t be able to breath. Truth is that the baby has a natural ‘dive reflex’ and he won’t try to breath until he reaches the surface and he will continue to receive oxygen through the ombilical cord. It is believed that birthing in the pool helps the baby, as specialists say, and it will be less traumatic for him.
Battery powered and drug-free – another alternative pain relief that is believed to work wonders in the early stage of labour (probably until you are 4 cm dilated). I’ve seen one but I honestly don’t know how to use it. However, it’s made of pads that you stick to your back. It can be stronger or weaker, depending on how you set it to be. It is supposed to stimulate your nerves, release endorphins and help you be in control of the labour. You can buy it or rent it for about £15. The hospital I’m booked at provides it but I refuse to use it because, since I wish to have a drug-free delivery, I can’t imagine myself not screaming for anaesthetic if I use the help of anything in the early stages of labour.
Raspberry Leaf Tea or tablets
This is something I’m actually trying so I can only come back after delivery to confirm if it has worked for me or not. This is a traditional way that is believed to help by having a shorter labour as it strengthens the uterine and pelvic muscles. Some say it can help with the pain too, by reducing the torture of contractions, however my midwife (who used it with all her 3 children) said that it can actually make labour be a bit more violent (shorter but more intense). She also recommended I start taking it from week 36. If you choose to drink the tea, you must begin with a cup per day, than after several days you have 2 a day, and then 3, so you can slowly build it up in your body. She said that tablets would be easier to take as the tea tastes nasty. Well, I’ve been a naughty girl and started drinking the tea a bit earlier, at 35 weeks, and it tastes delicious! I thought I got the wrong one, but no, my taste buds are a bit weird. I bought the one from Tesco and after one week I went to Holland & Barrett and got the one from there as I trust that brand more when it comes to herbs 😀 . Today, week 36+5, I had my first tablet (from H & B). Some women take both tablets and drink tea and start from week 32. So, I’m not sure now when is best to take the first sip of tea, but is definitely not before the third trimester! Some say that it naturally induces labour – FALSE, as far as I know. Just remember is Raspberry Leaf, not fruit! 🙂
The tea has so many beneficial proprieties even outside the pregnancy. It’s been known to be good for treating anemia, cold sores and gingivitis, and as a pain relief during menstruation. It contains so many vitamins such as – calcium, Iron and magnesium, as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and E.
I am currently drinking one tea per day and taking 2 tablets. Maybe one day next week I’ll go up a cup of tea. 🙂 ♥
This is my favourite one – mostly because I have a feeling that is the best way to get yourself ready for an easy labour and because is so healthy! I haven’t enrolled to any classes as my activity changes from a week to another so I cannot stay loyal to anything right now, but I exercise whenever I have the chance to. I walk, a lot! Sometimes there are days when I don’t get to sit down much or maybe not at all. And I kind of walk very fast, then I remember I have to take it slowly. I still walk the dogs and I’m almost full term 😀 . I squat. Anytime. Anywhere. When I’m at home, I go up and down the stairs for no reason, a few times in a row – I limit to 5 times at once otherwise my heart will explode. I actually run up the stairs 😀 . I do run outside from time to time when I’m with the dogs, but I don’t do a long run. What I mean is that I’m not scared to run.
There were nights this summer when I walked with Ken and the dogs for 3 hours in a row, without a stop (or access to a toilet 😮 ).
While I’m writing this post I have to sit for a long time in front of the computer so I can’t wait to finish and go walk the dogs and do some squats. 😀
At the moment I have a problem with my left foot – started hurting all of a sudden and don’t know the reason. But I have no time to rest for it to recover. ‘The marathon’ is about to be over, so I can’t give up when I’m so close to the end. 😀
It probably sounds silly but I actually made up a ‘labour playlist’ hoping that I can distract myself from the pain once I hear music. 🙂 Will have to see if that works.
What is pain?
I honestly believe that human beings can control the feeling of pain with their own minds. I haven’t been taking any form of pain relief for a long time now. I recently had a tooth infection and I was 2 days in constant agony that also caused me fever. I have not touched any sort of medicine. To me, resisting pain is like trying to make yourself eat extra spicy or like getting used to being inside very hot water – you can do it if you train your senses. Everything and any feeling we experience can be controlled by our brain. Fear causes pain and stress. Be optimistic and have no fears. Now, after so long, I’m not scared of labour anymore. I even don’t mind going on my own to the hospital – I actually think I would prefer that but Ken deserves to be next to me when our baby will come to the world. Well, that’s how I feel right now, but I may start shaking and get nervous when contractions will occur. 😀
There are so many people in this world which equals so many births. And I’m telling myself that I can do it too and that it can’t be that scary. If it was scary, women would not want to give birth again after their first child.
I don’t believe in ‘I was in labour for 3 days!!’. Well yes, you was probably in pain, but definitely not in extreme pain for as long as 3 days.
I don’t want to hear ‘horror’ stories of labour and pain. Please, be kind, and don’t share it with me. I’m not interested to hear anything negative. I’m not interested to hear women complaining about their birth experiences. I will probably be open to listen to them after I’ll experience it myself. And I’m saying that because some women really like to come and tell you what a terrible event it was for them. There are only 2 women that I was okay with when their shared their stories, just because it happened recently and I was curious of their well being.
I had Braxton Hicks contractions – 2 times! I did not even know such thing exists! I had to confirm it with my midwife that this is what it was. They lasted 1 hour each time and I had the first one at …week 21 (not sure if I remember right).
Birth plan ?
At the end of my pregnancy book there is a section left for me to fill in with my Birth Plan. 2 days left until I’m full term and I have not done it yet. However, all I know is that I don’t have any particular requirements. I just want to have a natural birth if all goes well. If I won’t be able to stand the pain I will ask for (or cry for) an epidural. I would like to avoid any other sort of anaesthetic or drugs. I would like not to have ‘pethidine’ which is by the way supposed to distant you from reality, not to take away your pain. I would like not to have ‘diamorphine’ either. I find pethidine and diamorphine being more ‘dangerous’ than an epidural, but that’s just what I think, I may be wrong. The midwife at the hospital where I’m booked at has confirmed that epidurals are safer now than before and having headaches or any other aches because of it is now just a myth. I’ll definitely give a go to gas and air. 😀
I would like to stay home as much as I can before I’m going into hospital. I’m planning to wait until cotractions are very close apart (3 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute). That, if I’ll be home, I’m travelling still and almost always on the go.
I would like to start doing my make up as soon as I feel contractions. 😀 I want to go to the hospital looking pretty. I would also like to jump in the shower before going hospital and I wish I will be able to walk around and always be in an upright position as apparently that helps.
I would love to be as relaxed as I am right now when I think about it. 🙂
My hospital bag is ready. 😀 I’ll write about it in a different post.
MOST IMPORTANTLY….I realy trust my own body that he know what its doing. ♥
*** I am aware that labour is unpredictable and that you never know what might happen.
It doesn’t matter how you give birth as long as you bring a child to the world. Educate yourself before taking a decision. Sadly, in my country, Romania, many women choose to have a C-section as a pain relief. However, I don’t blame them. I blame the system they live in, the lack of information, the lack of support from hospitals and doctors. Anyway, Romania is not the only one country in Europe with a big rate of c-sections. According to Forbes.com in Turkey 50% of births are done as cesarian.