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Practical tips to cope with contractions for a natural birth please!

(27 Posts)
Shellster52 Mon 14-Dec-15 00:29:14

I had my son not having done any preparation. Didn't want to know about the pain of labor and thought I would just trust in the hands of the experts at the time. Was hooked up to IV, told I had to lie on my back for monitoring purposes, legs in stirrups with midwife pushing near my rectum telling me where to push. Didn't enjoy the experience at all. So when DS did not come out like this, they used blunt scissors and pulled and tugged to tear me apart for an episiotomy which as a result still gives pain 4 1/2 years later.

So this time, wanting the opposite. Hoping to have a natural birth but in fear of not being able to cope with the pain! Any practical tips anyone can give would be greatly appreciated. Hoping to have several methods in the bag, so that I can keep trying different things when one thing isn't working, rather than screaming for an epidural.

ElsaAintAsColdAsMe Mon 14-Dec-15 00:37:14

Things that helped me were - breathing, concentrating in that helped lots.

Standing up and wiggling my hips when I was able.

Putting the back of the bed up and leaning over the back of the bed.

Having something to focus on, I used a photo for my last two births.

Solongtoshort Mon 14-Dec-15 00:38:23

I was exactly like you, with my first I was thinking it's one day of pain I can do it, I have seen obem I can cope then block it out.

With my second I wrote a birth plan like the midwife told me to the first time thinking this will be better. Well how stupid am I to think birth plans are worth the paper they are written on. I had pethadine and Gas and air, for some reason I found counting the number of puffs I took on the gas and air made me think if I could cope, when it got to 9's and 10's I asked for an epidural but it was too late.

vichill Mon 14-Dec-15 00:49:21

I was amazed that counting and controlled breathing really do help to focus and not freak out.

spillyobeans Mon 14-Dec-15 00:53:38

Positive thinking/hypnobirthing (i.e:trusting in your bodys ability to do this and thinking the pain isnt a sign of 'danger somethings wrong' but 'this is my bodys natural birthing rhythm and these feelings of uncomfort are normal') tens machine was bloody brilliant for me as well. Cold water to sip on really helped distract and lots of words of comfort!

LadySilvia Mon 14-Dec-15 00:53:41

Got to 10cm without gas and air using natal hypnotherapy and - I didn't expect this to be the case - but the contractions didn't hurt! Can't promise you the same experience but I'd recommend the CDs to every expectant mum. smile

spillyobeans Mon 14-Dec-15 00:55:05

Oh and warm water/birthing pool is brilliant for active labour/mid labour

spillyobeans Mon 14-Dec-15 00:57:13

And music! I hadnt planned on such a natural birth but the midwife unit i went to was great! Had a tens machine, listened to some enya and rick astley (not my choice but was v funny at the time me and dh were laughing at it even when i was 8cm dilated!)

scrivette Mon 14-Dec-15 01:13:26

As PP have said, just keep breathing!

Really concentrate on slow breathing, especially the breathing out - long, slow breaths. I told DH that all he needed to do was remind me to breath.

WalkThePlank0 Mon 14-Dec-15 01:16:59

Tens machine in early labour is distracting in a nice way. Hypnobirthing helped me be brave and positive when it really hurt. Birthing pool for delivery was fantastic and for immediate pain relief was as good as an epidural.

I did also research the unit that I was due to give birth in. Asked for an appointment to speak to the consultant about what went wrong at the birth for DS1. Read lots of books including Birth Skills by Juju Sundin and the Birth Partner by Penny Simkin. Asked, more bullied, DH to read them too.

Still hurt a lot but I was much more calm and confident. Enough to challenge the midwives and not be too frightened when it got to the scary bits. Good luck.

Headmelt Mon 14-Dec-15 01:33:04

I found the breathing techniques good. There was a large clock on the wall facing me, I used to watch the contraction build on the monitor and when it got to a tough stage of the contraction, I used to focus on the second hand of the clock moving, telling myself, if I can just make it through that minute the contraction would be over. I had a similar bizarre experience to you, having my legs put in stipups and an awful episiotomy (I had thought stipups were for comical effect in movies blush). The Gentlebirth cds are meant to be good.
LadySilvia what was the name of your hypnotherapy cds?

MummySparkle Mon 14-Dec-15 01:42:51

Definitely breathing. I didn't have the epidural with DC1, but was flat in my back surrounded by medical staff being told to get DS out as fast as I could. And the petah done made me feel really groggy.

With DC2 I used breathing until transition and then I had gas and air. I found taking deep breaths and then blowing them out to be really calming. I was in the birth pool at the MLU and when things got stronger, pulling on the handles and breathing really helped.

i don't think I actually played music with DD2, we didn't feel we needed it. The room was dimly lit and calm and DP and I just chatted between contractions. 15mins before DD was born DP caught me looking at the clock and comparing how long is been in labour that time compared to with DC1. He told me not to clock watch and we had a giggle about going home. Then my waters broke, I went through transition and she arrived.

The best bit for me was getting to have a long cuddle as soon as she was born. Poor DS was whisked away by doctors to be checked over and I feel I missed out on the initial bonding

lovemakespeace Mon 14-Dec-15 08:58:10

Some of this book is pretty wacky and very anti-intervention so maybe not helpful - but the descriptions of the birth process and what is happening to your body are excellent. I found the chapters on this really helpful:

www.amazon.co.uk/Natural-Childbirth-McCutchen/dp/0452276594

Or I would agree on the Maggie Howell CD for similar reasons.

Both helped me try to relax (ha) as I knew fighting the contractions just prevents them doing their job.

I had a similar first birth to you. Will my second I laboured at home, alone (husband was filling the pool) with just my TENS and an attempt to relax (it did hurt a lot I won't lie!!). I mentally kept telling myself I was a long way off. When I thought I couldn't cope any more (I was in transition) I waddled up to the birth pool and then my body pushed her out with no contribution from me in 3 pushes. No vaginal examinations, no midwife even (wouldn't necessarily recommend that bit!!). I think the lack of intrusion really helped.

All the best OP. It's really hard when the first birth was tough.

lilac3033 Mon 14-Dec-15 09:47:14

I second a TENS machine. It doesn't feel like if does a lot until you take it off! I has it on for over 12 hours and it was definitely helping with the pain. The distraction of using the boost button helped. I also used an app in early labour to track contractions, it was all about distractions. Once things ramped up I kept moving. I didn't sit until I was in the pool, bar some monitoring, which was hellish. I would walk between the contractions, when the contraction hit I put my head on the wall and took deep breaths.
I had a bit of dihyrocodeine when I got in, as DD was my first and I assumed I'd be ages. I wasn't. Had a bit of gas and air during what I later realised was transition, but didn't like it and ditched it for pushing.
I think the key is to roll with the pain and trust your body to know what it's doing, but at the same time know what you want if things don't go to plan. Think being in the MLU helped with this. It didn't feel as medicalised.

Freezingwinter Mon 14-Dec-15 09:49:47

Look on you tube at hypnobirthing and start practising now. I did a class and didn't eealise I was in labour until waters broke. When u got to the hospital I was 6cm and I only used gas and air till I started pushing at right at the end. I really reccomend it!

LumpySpaceCow Mon 14-Dec-15 10:35:14

Hypnobirthing, water and a doula x

Bumpsadaisie Mon 14-Dec-15 11:21:47

Be in water. It is a godsend.

Shellster52 Mon 14-Dec-15 21:14:53

Thank you so much every body for you replies. So the main points so far seem to be breathing, mind distractions, hypnotherapy, birthing pool and TENS machine. These are all things I've read about and plan to use and I've already ordered the book Birth Skills that Plank recommends*. Guess I'm just not confident that such simple things as breathing and listening to hypno CD's could really be so effective for something so intense as labor, so it's reassuring to hear that they have actually worked for you all.

Yes, LadySaliva, any hypnotherapy CD in particular that you would recommend? Or one in particular that anyone recommends? And did you listen to them in the lead up to practice being relaxed? This baby was IVF and I had an IVF hypnotherapy CD but found my mind tended to wander, especially once I'd heard it a few times. So wondering if I should practice or it would just be better to listen for the first time during labor?

Dixiechick17 Mon 14-Dec-15 21:25:24

I was shocked that breathing and using some hypnobirthing techniques got me through labour with no pain relief. I am a bit of a wimp usually. It hurt, no denying it but the techniques kept me calm and focussed. I used the Maggie Howell hypnobirthing cd and book. I fell asleep everytime I listened to the cd, but it did sink in. I was actually listening to it and woke up to the start of labour, helped me stay calm.

Youcantscaremeihavechildren Mon 14-Dec-15 22:21:45

Had my first labour, (elcs due to breech first time) second dc, at home in water with no pain relief apart from a couple of paracetamol, it was 12 hrs and really full on, contractions every 2 mins from right at the start. I coped by using techniques from juju sundins book birth skills, so kind on making a noise (mooing!) That I could focus on, plus I did hypnobirthing so I had an image in my mind to focus on, of blowing up balloons and letting them go, I kind of did the blowing out too and stayed on my all fours with a load of cushions to prop me up. I had to get on my back once and it was bloody agony so don't underestimate how much getting comfortable for you will help. I wouldnt get out/stand up in the pool for then to listen to the doppler, i just couldnt. So i didnt, it was fine, they just used other ways of monitoring like this line you get on your back, starting at your bum, that kind of moves up and extends as labour progresses. When it got to bearing down I imagined a waterfall, although that didn't help much to be honest! Water really did though, I just kind of let go and when I was pushing it wasn't even really pushing, I couldn't have stopped it or have any control over it, but it did help that the midwives just left me to it and didn't interfere or check me etc. It was a really long second stage and I asked about gas and air at one point but I couldn't be bothered to have them messing about getting it from the car so didn't! I didn't have internals or monitoring unless absolutely necessary which helped me get into the zone as it were. I think this all really helped me, I was nervous about labour as I had no idea what to expect but honestly, I'd do it again if DH would let me and I didn't find it overwhelming or painful as such. And ds was fairly large, nearly 9lb.
Good luck! Stay calm, keep it all dark and cosy, don't let them interfere with you unless you want it as it can slow things down and you'll be fine.

Youcantscaremeihavechildren Mon 14-Dec-15 22:26:22

Definitely practice hypnobirthing, it's the listening to it when it's quiet and you're snuggled up in bed that creates the association to help you recreate that in labour. Maggie Howell is excellent, she's got a nice voice which is also important!
Oh, also light touch massage helps, your DH or partner stroking lightly your back, arms etc, to create oxytocin which is the most important hormone in birth.

emmamoo11 Mon 14-Dec-15 22:27:55

Don't focus on anything except yourself. Go inwards. Hum!!.Growl!! Don't care what you look like or what you do. Be brave. You can do it

Potterwolfie Mon 14-Dec-15 22:34:55

I had a similar experience to you first time around. Second time, and both were induced, was entirely different, ending in a brilliant water birth and a gorgeous 10lb-er.

I'd just say, believe that your body can do what it needs to, breathe so deeply and competely, close your eyes, relax into the entirely new place you will be transported to, and don't rush the process.

blackkat1978 Tue 15-Dec-15 01:56:27

Even though my 1st labour wasn't too bad I felt really out of control. I really wanted a home birth for my 2nd & read a few books about it (will look them up at a better time) & having an understanding of exactly what my body was doing helped me through the contractions, as did breathing techniques, music & affirmations. I couldn't justify the cost of hypno birthing but instead I discovered classes called daisy birthing which brought together everything I wanted, I did 2 courses of it in the end (my son was 13 days over due) & I honestly think that's what helped me have a completely Natural home birth. Would definitely recommend them & a thorough birth plan. Good luck

artisanroast Tue 15-Dec-15 06:27:56

I would say learning hypnobirthing style breathing. I went to yogabellies which was helpful for breathing techniques.

Unfortunately I couldn't tolerate gas and air as it made me feel nauseous and I decided I didn't need nausea on top of my contractions so I used breathing techniques until I was given my epidural.

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