The #1 Labor Tip You Need to Know
You know you did it.
You stuck your fingers in one of these innocent contraptions and then had the full panic moment of realizing that you couldn't get your fingers back out. No matter how hard you pulled, the dumb thing just squeezed tighter.
And then you realized that the answer to this little trick was the exact opposite than what you first assumed.
You needed to relax.
So simple- yet so counter-intuitive.
If we could offer you only one tidbit of information before you welcome your baby, it's the exact same thing.
Yes, we see you giving us the side-eye. Everyone has told you how difficult and painful labor is. "Relax" definitely isn't the magical answer you were looking for.
Let us explain.
Our bodies are amazing. When we sense fear, discomfort, pain- our initial response is often that whole 'fight or flight' thing we learned about in school. Our muscles tense up and we look for a route of escape.
Here's the problem with that: 'Fight or flight' causes some issues during labor. That response increases the sensations of pain, messes with the production of the magical Oxytocin, and can slow the progress of labor.
Preparing yourself to find a state of relaxation can make an incredible difference in your birth experience!
How might that happen?
*Ask your support team to remind you to relax. It could be a hand on your shoulder to remind you to let your shoulders fall or a whispered 'relax your face.' Having reminders at the peak of contractions may be exactly what you need.
*Consider taking advantage of a tub, pool, or shower. The change of environment and warmth from the water tends to give people an opportunity to melt into their surroundings for a good period of time.
*Rotate into positions that allow your body to be loose during contractions. Slow dancing allows you to hang a bit and sway your hips. Sitting on a birth ball allows you to drop your shoulders as you 'hula' your way through a contraction.
*Make use of rituals that keep you in a rhythm during contractions. Allowing your brain to focus on the rhythm of the ritual takes the energy away from tightening up your muscles.
*Give yourself permission to ask for whatever it is that you need. There's no failure in asking for pain medication or an epidural. And there's nothing wrong with hiding in the dark bathroom while you work your way through the most intense contractions.
You know you best.
Find the things that allow you to relax your face, loosen your neck, and drop your shoulders.