natural birth(30 Posts)
how to prepare myself for a natural birth? i rally want to experience a natural birth but can't stop stressing about the pain.. what worked for you?
I hoped for a natural birth but ended up having an epidural with DC1 when the pain got too much for me (it was a long labour - 21 hours from 5cm to birth). Then had DC2 and DC3 with gas and air only (much shorter labours).
All three were really positive experiences, mainly because I felt I had been allowed to make my own decisions and not been pressurised towards either more or less intervention.
Good luck OP!
It's all luck really isn't it. But for me I found the natal hypnotherapy cds really good. I think 1 thing on the cd stuck out (or maybe something I read elsewhere), but that was that until you get to the pushing stage, you don't have to DO anything. For a lazy person like me, that was perfect. The more you relax, the less painful it is.
In the weeks before my due date I went swimming 3 times a week and I had a system where I would swim a length as fast as I could and then swim 2 more really slowly, or basically just float. I would repeat that a few times. It was my way of getting into the frame of mind of hard contractions, followed by a rest. I don't know whether it helped, but I guess when I went into labour I had got my head round the idea of a little bit of hard work, followed by a nice rest.
Totally agree with engaging with positive material like 'Hypnobirthing' (Marie Mongan) and the Natal Hypnothrapy CD, reading any Ina May Gaskin and youtubing water births. I think all it takes is a change in perception so stay well away from 'One Born Every Minute'. I found the same regarding the earlier comment about the tooth ache. I had to have a wisdom tooth out in my second trimester and that was way more painful than anything in my labour. There's a lot you can do in the run up to have a well positioned baby and to keep it that way.
I had hoped for a natural birth with my first but the reality was the pain and contractions were so much more intense than anything I had ever experienced that I asked for an epidural. This was refused as I was 10cm dilated by the time they got around to me but I would have grabbed it with both hands if I could.
When pregnant with my second I read the New Active Birth book by Janet Balaskas and planned for a homebirth. The book just made so much sense to me and I guess I let go of a lot of the fear I had felt after my first. My second was born at home as planned, no pain relief needed, I just kept repeating "it's not so bad" over and over in my head and let my body do the work. DD was born after just 3 and a half hours labour. But I tried to keep an open mind too and recognise that this was partly down to luck, a quick labour and baby's position. I was more than happy to go into hospital and accept any intervention if it came about that it was needed, luckily for me it wasn't.
Also, unless there are reasons to do otherwise, ignore labour until it can't be ignored. I was was doing stuff like grocery shopping, sorting out baby clothes, and cooking up until the contractions were every 4 minutes or so, at which point I automatically zoned out into a labour focus. Not everyone has the sort of labour that works like that, but lots of people start thinking if themselves as in labour really early on and go to hospital and get all excited and then everything stays the same for hours and they get sent home/ worn out/ induced. By the time I saw a midwife, I was pretty much ready to push.
Not discussed, focused
I think there is some great advice on here. I am taking notes for my next baby!!!
I agree with the focusing elsewhere in labour. In yoga they call a little thing like that which you repeat as a resolution your sankalpa. Mine was 'my body knows exactly what to do'. Until I got to about 6-7 cm I walked about and waved my hands during contractions and mentally discussed on my sankalpa. This was very effective.
Then at around 6 cm got in the pool, at 7cm started gas and air etc etc.
I think I was lucky to have a well positioned baby, but being fit and calm as well as mentally well prepared for both a degree of pain and how to cope, definitely helped.
Oh and walking round in labour is great for pain relief too....sounds odd but bending over table or sofa to stretch your back out feels great after a contraction.
I did what atrcts recommends. You just need to get totally in the zone, so every time a contractions starts, you do your 12 breaths, or whatever little ritual you like. I repeated a little poem I like in my head while gazing at one spot and breathing deeply, knowing that by the time I had finished the poem I would feel fine. The breaks between contractions are pain free (well, they were for me anyway). I almost felt hypnotised (or at least very calm) by doing this.
Disclaimer: for both births this worked for me until about 7cm dilated when I go knackered and had an epidural (which was brilliant too).
Getting knackered and dehydrated is a big cause of feeling as though the pain is too much for you, so try and stay rested and eat and drink. I was unlucky to have very long latent phases in both labours, but I don't think that's usual.
So, I guess I am a believer in both natural and medical pain relief.
I had a natural birth in hospital birthing pool (no pain relief required). Went to hospital after my waters broke. Midwife put me on monitor to see how baby was doing but didn't check how far on I was. I had to ask to be checked when I felt my body wanting to push and by that stage I was 9cm. Baby was born not long thereafter and for me, was a positive experience.
While we don't know what Mother Nature has planned for us until the big day, what worked for me was-
1. My religious faith (trusting in God and Jesus)
2. My Mum used to be a midwife and encouraged me to go for a natural birth.
3. Hypnobirthing (Marie Mongan)- the breathing and relaxation techniques kept me calm and helped me deal with the contractions. They also explain how the birthing process works- for me, understanding what my body could do gave me a lot more confidence.
4. Keeping a reasonable level of fitness and eating an overall healthy diet.
5. Avoiding TV progammes and articles which portray childbirth in a dramatic, negative light.
6. Having a birthing plan in my notes- I wanted a quiet atmosphere, not having to converse with the midwives.
7. Keeping an open mind about the birth- I didn't rule out pain relief and it's always good to have a plan B!
Try to relax- if you are tense, your body won't work so effectively during the birth (it will divert energy to your "escape muscles" instead of the uterus).
Hope all goes well for you. It is your body and your baby and your experience so trust yourself to know what is best for you.
atrcts - that's a great technique, definitely writing that one down...
I found that a special way of slow deep breathing helped massively.
I would take deep breaths very slowly - every time a new contraction started - and count how many deep, slow breaths it took until the contractions had gone away. It was exactly 12 breaths every contraction.
It helped me because at about breath 8 it was really painful but I know in only 4 more breaths I'd be completely pain free again (til the next contraction!). I did this for 10 hours and did not need painkillers (gas and air) until induced at 7cm.
I was amazed it isn't taught in the NHS antenatal classes. It was so powerful. I'd recommend it to anyone.
I can highly recommend Hypnobirthing. I agree with the earlier poster who said toothache is much worse... I found the relaxation techniques and the CDs (which I played throughout my labours) really helpful. With my first baby, I laboured to full dilation with nothing at all and then it ended in a crash section (foetal distress). My second baby was born at home, I had a bit of gas & air towards the end and an otherwise uneventful and easy birth with no tears or stitches.
Every labour is different, so the best thing you can do in my opinion is to be informed and read up about birth and your options generally. I read the Ina May Gaskin guide to childbirth book and it's a really good read and very informative.
I had a huge baby on just gas and air. I would say it was pretty painful, but that it was manageable pain iykwim and at no time did I feel it was too much for me or that I couldn't cope. These things helped:
- yoga classes to learn breathing for birth. You can do one off yoga birth workshops in the weeks just before the birth if you want to
- nct classes to be fully informed and hospital class to know about hospital policy
- reading book on natural birth and one on bf as I really wanted to bf and I knew there was a statistical connection between unmedicated birth and bf
- clear birth plan to communicate with the mw what I wanted:
Asked them not to offer me pain relief but said I am open minded. Plan to use gas and air but may choose to use other forms. This really helped me as no one suggested other forms of pain relief at moments where I might have been tempted so I just went with the flow!
- didn't use any pain relief at all until I was in really active labour - 6 cm iirc, then asked for water then at say 7cm asked for the gas and air as well and that combination then kept me going to 10cm.
Started off just using yoga breathing, and walking round through the contractions. I saved each form of pain relief (gas and air, water) for when I really needed it and that really helped manage without more major forms of pain relief.
- labouring in water was amazing pain relief for me
- wrote out and repeated every night in the few weeks before birth a set of birthing affirmations. These helped me get into a positive frame of mind and in the labour some of the words really stayed with me, especially 'my body knows exactly what to do'
- I had amazing mw at my NHS unit and would choose a doula next time to try to recapture the same amazing one to one support (we have moved to a different area).
Next time I'm trying tens as well.
Birth is painful, but with a well positioned baby and a labour that progresses well it is really possible to do it without pain relief if you want to.
I felt so euphoric when I saw my baby and like I could do it all again that day. The joy of them gazing at you and that first bf is just unbeatable!!
I would go into it with an open mind. You are the only person that will know how you feel. Be careful about planning things too much incase it doesn't go exactly to plan x
Don't put yourself under too much pressure about "natural birth".
You can't always control what is going on. Ultimately, despite the fact that a load of people say it's bad thing, sometimes, intervention is what is needed for the welfare of the baby/mother/both.
So do what you can to have the birth you want, but bear in mind that medical intervention (even for pain relief) does not equal failure and saves lives.
I was hoping for a natural birth but ended up with everything going due to DS pushing on nerves and mini contactions in between my real ones, killer pain 3 shots of pethidine and gas and air later nothing was working so i was begging for an epidural (which still didn't stop the pain) ended up with a spinal too just to top off the drugs, my friend planned for loads of pain relief due to storys of my horrible birth she was 2 hours with a few puffs of gas and air... moral of the story don't worry about it if you can handle the pain great if you can't thats ok too.
I had an epi and pethadine with DS (hormone drip required). 24 hours start to finish.
Just home after gas and air with DD. They took the gas and air off me towards the end. Two hours start to finish.
I have to say that the gas and air labour was heinous. Absolute writhing agony, screaming, heinousness.
The epi labour I thought was horrendous really wasn't anything compared pain wise.
However I've recovered sooooooooooo much quicker with the 'natural' birth. I don't know if it was to do with less intervention but there you go!
Honestly? I planned for the worst but really wished for a natural births.. 2 babies within 18 months of each other.
24 hour labour ...pethidine...epidural...episiotomy...forceps.....torn ligaments....meconium waters...grumpy...pnd....
12 hour labour....c-section....baby in scu.....grumpy......badly healed scar...endometriosis...adenometriosis....hysterectomy....
Pain? I don't remember any pain really, just chuffed that i've got two gorgeous girlies, now early teens. If i could do it all again I really don't know what I would do differently, other than attempt to be more assertive.
I read Ina May Gaskin's book - I think it's called A Guide to Childbirth & went from 'absolutely terrified, must be in hospital incase of anything' to having a homebirth without any medication/intervention! I really didn't find it painful at all, personally. It was just a squeezing sensation!
I think what really helped me, other than the book, was doing lots of research that I then shared with DH so I felt like we both knew what my preference would be if any interventions were needed. I felt in control because I felt like I understood what my body was doing & I trusted it to do what it was supposed to. DS1's birth wasn't perfect but I don't remember feeling scared at all.
I've had both mine with no pain relief but both times I've kept an open mind. I read about every form of pain relief and every complication so I felt I could make informed choices. That helped me to stay calm which I think is the biggest help of all.
I got the Natal hypnotherapy CDs from eBay and listened to them a lot. (If nothing else they helped me to fall asleep when I was very pregnant and uncomfortable).
Keep active and read about how to get your baby in the best position for the birth.
Good luck! If natural birth doesn't work for you it's ok as long as you and the baby are healthy. And yes of course it hurts but its the only pain you get that's positive, every contraction is one nearer to your baby.
and yes it was painful (both times) but the pain is like nothing you've ever felt before or since
it's intense in a way other pain i've had wasn't
it STOPS the minute you give birth too
i had a water birth which was great and just had gas and air
trust your body
have great and supportive birth partners
Read stuff by Ina May Gaskin.
Hypnosis is good. The two most common birth prep courses are hypnobirthing and natal hypnotherapy. They don't stop the pain or guarantee a natural birth, but it should be enough for you to cope fine without drugs for a straightforward birth and to help you feel calm and secure if things turn out to be more complex and you need extra help to birth your baby.
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