How to have a Good Birth

good birthMy last pregnancy blog was about oxytocin and it got me thinking about the gap between our idealised vision of the perfect birth and the reality of most women’s experience; what can you do to bridge the gap and have a good birth or at least a ‘good enough’ birth?

I’ve been asking around my birth professional colleagues to find out what one thing they recommend to make a birth easier and the majority said to relax. Now this is not always an easy proposition, so I have made a list of practical things you can do to help you relax, whatever your situation.

Support

Surround your self with positive, supportive people who have a belief in your capabilities. If you’re lucky, you’ll have female friends or relations who are positive and supportive of your birth choices. Doulas are a tremendous resource; they can inform, mediate, and support you and are amazing value for money too!

Do things you love

Always! But most especially in early labour: bake, sew, sing, dance, sleep, read, stretch, weed, bathe… whatever makes you calm and contented will help you relax. Relaxation is prerequisite for the oxytocin to flow and for your labour to progress. Having a pleasurable task will also keep you in the present, speaking of which…

Be present

Being in the moment is always better for everyone, but even more so in labour. There are many ways of helping you to be present:
– Know each contraction brings you closer to your baby
– Know that once a contraction has gone, it is finished
– “This too shall pass” makes a great mantra.

Oxytocin

If you refer back to my previous blog there are loads of simple changes you can make to help the oxytocin to flow.

Horse Lips

This is a tip from Shiela Kitzinger. There is thought to be a link between the cervix and the jaw, so that holding tension around your mouth also keeps your cervix hard and visa versa. To do this, loosen your lips and jaw then blow out the air like a horse; it’s a massive raspberry! It’s messy and you’ll be spitting if you’re doing it right and waves of relaxation will move through your body. It’s a brilliant stress reducer at any time. PFFFFFFT!

Education

Fear, which stuffs everything up, often comes from a lack of knowledge. Understanding our bodies’ needs and the process of birth can really give us confidence to birth our babies without fear. There are loads of great antenatal educators out there, the NCT and health service antenatal classes all do excellent work. If you have particular concerns or issues, don’t overlook individual classes, which can be tailored just for you and your partner. Natal hypnotherapy is also a great way to educate yourself both about the birth process and also ways to get go and relax.

If you are pregnant, I hope that one or more of these things will resonate and appeal to you and that you can find your way to relax and have a good birth. You will have your own list too I expect and I’d love to know what’s on it.

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