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Please share any breathing or relaxation or general "coping" exercises that helped you in labour?

(18 Posts)
minipie Mon 01-Oct-12 20:15:30

Seems like there are quite a variety of things that women have helped them deal with pain or contractions or not pushing too fast.

Please share what worked for you?

To start off, some I have read about on MN recently include:

- visualising pushing a pram further up a hill to collect your baby
with each contraction

- relaxing your face, as it makes sure the rest is relaxed too

- counting during a contraction so you know when it's likely to end

Any more?

sittinginthesun Mon 01-Oct-12 20:18:41

Deep breath in as a contraction starts, and start to breathe out before it peaks, so that you are already breathing out as it peaks. Then count on the out breath, which will be longer than the in breath.

Worked amazingly for me during second labour. I paced around between contractions, and held into the windowsill as I counted.

Use the same technique when cutting the children's nails. grin

ellesabe Mon 01-Oct-12 20:27:30

I had bible verses written on little cards which I read and memorised during contractions.

R2PeePoo Mon 01-Oct-12 20:41:13

I had music on constantly, stuff that makes me feel happy/has good memories attached to it/makes me laugh. I think DS might have been born to Ghostbusters grin.

I did my very best to stay relaxed and unfrightened. Every time I felt scared I pushed it back down and distracted myself with something else. I read a lot of books about natural births and refused to read/watch/ listen to any scare stories the second time around.

I concentrated on the baby inside me and talked to him, encouraged him and told him how I'd be seeing him soon. We were a team and working together to get him born.

I kept telling myself that it would be over soon. I focused on points in the future, happy days to come e.g meeting his older sister, learning to talk etc right up to being at his wedding day. I imagined the look on my mum's face when she met him for the first time, the first cuddle.

DS was born at home and I insisted on having low lights on, nothing bright. DH covered the sofa with shower curtains and towels and wrapped each cushion individually. I made myself a little cave space and curled up in there on my own away from everyone else where I felt safe and warm. With DD (hospital), the bright lights and exposed position really unsettled me.

I listened to my body and got myself into almost a trance state after a while. In one position I was in agony and it turned out I had a cervical lip. The midwife started to tell me what to do but I automatically turned onto my back, the pain went and he was born a few minutes later.

When a contraction was building I imagined a little boat climbing the peak of a wave and just as it got unbearable I imagined it sailing back down again. I imagined pushing it along with my long slow breaths.

wafflingworrier Mon 01-Oct-12 20:41:39

my husband read books to me, i found it really comforting to concentrate on and distract myself with. i picked my favourite from childhood and also from adulthood, ones i knew really well already. it just made me feel like although the pain was whole new thing, i was still grounded in the familiar.
also, deep breathing. i didn;t at first but as soon as i worked out how to things were better, the above explanation is pretty good but you will work it out as you go too.
any nice music you have is good to listen to as well, again something to focus on. you will be fine!

wafflingworrier Mon 01-Oct-12 20:43:31

also, if you are going to give birth in hospital, try to go on a tour of the labour ward before hand. i found that really calmed me down as when we actually had to drive there i knew what to expect in terms of what the room would be like, how long the drive would take etc.

minipie Mon 01-Oct-12 20:44:01

thanks, these are all great! (especially Ghostbusters grin and I also love the reading from familiar books idea) please keep them coming.

emsyj Mon 01-Oct-12 20:45:47

I did hypnobirthing and found contractions very manageable - I was 9cm on admission to hospital after a short and comfortable labour stage. I would recommend it for breathing & relaxation techniques - the book and CD are available on amazon.

emsyj Mon 01-Oct-12 20:47:00

...Just realised it's you minipie! If you can do a course, it's brilliant. I did mine with a very experienced midwife last time, and am doing a refresher course soon with another team of midwives (seems to have taken off in my local area recently).

Hope all is good with you smile.

Teladi Mon 01-Oct-12 20:49:13

I had a little mantra which I think I pinched from the natal hypnotherapy CDs... I say I think because I don't think I ever made it to the end without falling asleep, can't remember a thing about them! They were lovely though and worth getting.

Things didn't go so well for me (but I think if I had panicked they would have been even worse) and so I was even using it in the operating theatre when they were preparing to deliver DD.

"Breathing in golden light..... breathing out, releasing tension"

Not particularly catchy but I must have said it a thousand times during labour! Even now if I am feeling a bit stressed I breathe in and visualise my lovely golden light, then breath out all the nasty red-brown stressy air stuck in my lungs.

Bit hippy but it worked!

Downbytheocean Mon 01-Oct-12 21:00:50

Natal hypnotherapy got me through the whole labour (tens and a small amount of gas and air too smile) saying '3,2,1 relax' just as a contraction started and turning the pain dial down. For me it was all about controlled breathing, I also exhaled as if I was blowing bubbles. It helped to think of each contraction being a minute long and focus on my breathing the whole time.

I love the 'breathing in golden light, breathing out releasing tension' too.

I highly recommend the effective birth preparation cd.

PoppyWearer Mon 01-Oct-12 21:06:38

Deffo the Natal Hypnotherapy CDs.

It was as dramatic as my contractions stopping in hospital until DH found a CD player to play the music. After the music started the contractions restarted full-strength and DC2 was born an hour or so later.

I also had to have some post-birth stitching in theatre (sorry TMI!) and went into a bit of a panic until the music went on. After that I was relaxed and chatty.

The 3,2,1...Relax and Breathing in golden light, breathing out releasing tension worked for me, associated with the music.

Gave birth to 2 DCs with TENs and gas/air.

Downbytheocean Mon 01-Oct-12 22:00:39

Oh yes, the music! How could I forget! I had the natal hypnotherapy birth music cd on the whole time. 4 hours if it, I doubt my DH ever wants to hear that again! So calming.

Asmywhimsytakesme Mon 01-Oct-12 22:43:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Wolfiefan Mon 01-Oct-12 22:52:15

Breathe in slowly through nose. Count as you breathe in. Breathe out slowly through mouth. Make out breath last as long as in breath and as smooth and steady as you can. Saw me through early labour and only got to hospital 2 1/2 hours before first baby born!
Good luck.

minipie Tue 02-Oct-12 10:13:23

Thanks everyone (and hello emsyj, hope all's well)! I have been reading the Maggie Howell book which is what inspired this thread - sounds like I should get the CDs too (though not sure when I'll find time to listen to them...)

Will look through all the responses and pick my favourites, thank you very very much!

Downbytheocean Tue 02-Oct-12 10:45:48

I listened to mine whilst going to sleep every night, it goes in even if you think you've fallen asleep.

Ds1 (3) didn't allow much time for relaxation at any other point!

It was so useful when I went overdue and was waking up fitful in the middle of the night, I'd put my iPod on and just drift back to sleep.

crosscupcake Tue 02-Oct-12 10:49:38

gas & Air,


if all that fails then i had a general anaesthetic...that was VERY relaxing, i slept all the way through the whole thing!

This time, im booked for one of them there organised sunroof jobs...breathing bahh to breathing, drugs all the way here!

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