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Can anyone recommend a breathing/pain management in labour book that is NOT hypnobirthing or woo-filled?

(15 Posts)
LaWeasel Tue 28-Jun-11 11:02:32

Really looking for something that will help me stay in control/not panic through early labour.

This is my second baby, so not interested in hypnobirthing or anything else that will try and imply that contractions don't have to hurt. I know they do! I need some realistic ideas to stay calm about it.

porcupine11 Tue 28-Jun-11 11:16:10

Yes! I found my mum's old copy of 'The New Childbirth' (not that new now, as she first used it in 1979) and it was fantastic, no-nonsense, explains the entire process, what will hurt when and what is happening. I read it before my second labour and what a difference it made from the first (where I panicked at 3.5 cm and got stuck and had an epidural leading to forceps) - I could completely understand and visualize what was happening, and I could cope with it. I had a non-epidural delivery as a result, and for a huge baby (10lb 1 oz).

I can't find the book to check the details, but it had a baby on the cover and I'm guessing it is a 70s edition of the Erna Wright classic. You can still order it from Amazon by the looks of things. Some of it is out of date such as needing to push the staff to allow the partner into the delivery room, but the biology and how to deal with it is of course unchanged.

LaWeasel Tue 28-Jun-11 11:25:16

Thanks, that sounds great - just found an old copy on amazon and thre reviews look just like what I'm looking for!

LaWeasel Tue 28-Jun-11 11:31:46

I got really panicky in my first labour too, obviously I knew it would hurt but I got swept off my feet by the relentlessness of just how painful the contractions were and how quickly they come one after another. Though it didn't end in intervention thankfully, just a big shot of pethidine which more or less knocked me out!

I'm hoping for a homebirth and there's only G&A available so can't rely on that method second time around.

porcupine11 Tue 28-Jun-11 12:06:14

It's better the second time anyway I reckon. This time I didn't try to walk around or using birthing balls etc. I just lay on my side and ignored everyone and got through it by sheer mental force!

SelinaDoula Tue 28-Jun-11 13:11:30

I've been told that this is good-
Prsactical pain management.

pettyprudence Tue 28-Jun-11 19:36:47

I did do a hypnobirthing course but was crap at the visualisation stuff so I didn't use the full techniques but I did use the breathing stuff which I think is widely used:
Between contractions you do "sleep breathing" - count in 1,2,3,4 and out 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

During contractions - breathe in for as long as you can counting quickly and out slowly

During "pushing" - breathe in and on the way out breathe out in a j-shape (ie out down through your body and then turn towards your bum - not sure if that makes sense - but we were told to practise when doing a poo!)

All breathing is done in and out of the nose as apparently its helps with oxygen intake?

Hypnobirthing actually explains in a fair bit of detail the physiological aspect of labour so helps you understand what happens, how and when and does not claim to be pain free but that pain comes from the fear of not knowing what your body is doing and then gives you visualisation techniques to help you relax and release your muscles so your body can get on with birthing. If you are tense then your blood is not flowing freely and your muscles do not work properly and the uterus is another muscle.

Sorry to ramble.

Rootatoot Tue 28-Jun-11 20:00:55

I just got JuJu Sundin's birth skills book. Haven't read more than couple pages at first, but I'd say it's looking very useful. Not airy fairy. Pretty practical.

emsyj Tue 28-Jun-11 21:11:46

I wouldn't dismiss Hypnobirthing out of hand if you haven't tried it. I did a Hypnobirthing course when I was pregnant with DD (taught by a very experienced midwife, which I think helped to make it all seem less 'woo' and lentil weavy). I didn't think much of the visualisations and 'scripts', but I used the breathing techniques and the relaxation CD in labour and found contractions extremely manageable. I wouldn't describe my experience of contractions as anything more serious than intense and uncomfortable. I was 9cm on admission to hospital and really felt quite fine.

Have no idea if the 'birth breathing' stuff works tho as ended up having a crash section whilst fully dilated - gah!

I am not remotely into hippy shit, but the breathing techniques and relaxation CD really are very good. If you can get a book and CD cheap on Amazon then I would say give it a try, but tis up to you of course.

LaWeasel Tue 28-Jun-11 21:38:02

I agree with a course and an experienced midwife it probably makes more sense but I can't afford to do one, CDs/DVDs not great for me either as have hearing problems.

Also, with all due respect, it's great that you had contractions that didn't hurt very much. But I know my contractions, I know that when the first one hit I thought my appendix was exploding and I've done that already. Even when I was perfectly calm and in control on G&A at the pushing point, it's still bloody painful.

So I'm just not interested in any book telling me it can help with the pain, I'm interested in help with keep calm and control.

LaWeasel Tue 28-Jun-11 21:38:28

Thanks for all the other suggestions though. grin

Poppet45 Tue 28-Jun-11 21:57:52

Another vote for Birth Skills by JuJu Sundin here. Not at all lentil weavery, just really practical, uplifting and supportive. She offers you a whole range of techniques from vocal (I loved mooing), stuff to do with your hands (stress balls, clapping, punching), mental distraction (counting, phrases to say over and over, ways to imagine you're leaving the room grin), physical stuff (stomping, dancing, rocking) - basically you're trying to occupy your mind on every part of your body that doesn't hurt - so it can't think about the middle bit that does. I couldn't get on with hypnobirthing and the like asking you to thinking of agonising contractions as 'opening sensations' but this really, really really worked wonders. I had contractions that lasted a minute every two minutes from the get go but got to 7cms, 10 hours later or so, before I needed gas and air on that book and a birth pool. And I am a wuss. If I hadn't needed a spinal and a section nine hours after that I'd have rated DS's birth as perfect blush

sugarsnappea Thu 30-Jun-11 21:29:59

I've done hypnobirthing, natal hypnotherapy and Juju Sundin's Birth Skills - she wins hands down! absolutely brilliant book fantastic techniques, she incorporates the breathing and relaxation from the other two but adds MORE, hers are proven pain management techniques (none of that pain-is- just-fear rubbish). I recommend her to every pregnant woman I know. Good luck with your labour

DioneTheDiabolist Thu 30-Jun-11 21:33:58

Didn't do any of that, so I don't know. But I can recommend pethadine.grin Ask for half the normal dosage, it's enough to take the edge off the pain, but not so much that it masks what your body is telling you to do.

I hated gas and air, had no effect other than make me feel sick.

LaWeasel Fri 01-Jul-11 09:20:27

Unfortunately, I'm not allowed pethadine if I have a home birth! I was a fan last time.

I'm buying copies of Birth Skills and the New Childbirth book so thanks for everyone's input.

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