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Juju Sundin's Birth Skills - anyone tried this during labour?

(69 Posts)
glitterbomb80 Tue 05-Jan-16 15:47:07

I was given a book by an Australian obstetric physiotherapist, Juju Sundin, on managing pain during labour. Unlike hypnobirthing, she advocates an "embrace the pain" philosophy, where you're encouraged to think about the pain of childbirth as something that is healthy and natural, to avoid the fear-panic response that can lead to complications.

In the book she outlines a number of different strategies for working with the pain, from walking/stomping through contractions, through to stress balls and vocalisations. It's all quite noisy and active.

It really seemed to make sense to me, and I'm keen to hear if anyone's used Juju's techniques and how labour went?

Here's a link to the book if anyone's interested: Birth Skills

AmyLouKin Wed 06-Jan-16 12:06:25

I can't say whether it works or not, as 34 wks with my first but I've read the book too. I agree with you, it makes more sense to me than some of the other stuff I have read! It has been recommended by other mumsnetters in the past, which is why I bought it! Hopefully someone else will be able to tell us about their experiences!

glitterbomb80 Wed 06-Jan-16 17:03:29

I'm a couple of weeks ahead of you, so I'll test it out during my labour and report back!

cheeseandcrackers Thu 07-Jan-16 17:48:40

I read it before my first labour with dc1 and found it useful. I found it good to have a range of techniques to try especially in early labour and it helped me to feel like I knew what I was doing and maintain some control.

NameAgeLocation Thu 07-Jan-16 17:53:20

Never heard of her but I vocalised during my 2nd birth, it was instinctive, and it really really really helped. My doula joined in with me which I remember vividly.

I also had a stress ball which was great as DP has problems with his hands and would not have been able to take strong pressure. I squeezed the ball and DP held my hand over the ball.

Not planning any more children, otherwise I'd read the book as it sounds very interesting.

Latium123 Thu 07-Jan-16 21:03:33

I read this book when PG with my first and based my birth plan on the techniques as first time round you can't be sure how you're going to feel and what is going to work. She makes the point in the book that having lots of strategies to try is best as you can adapt and just do what works when you are in the moment. You also have to practice in advance so it comes as second nature when you are in labour.

I found the techniques absolutely brilliant and really think it is the reason I managed a back labour in the birth pool with no drugs. The stress balls and the stomping around helped in the early stages then in the pool I carried on with the stress balls, just squeezing them and banging them on the side of the pool. It sounds strange but it really works. The theory is doing these things mean you don't focus on the pain therefore don't panic and can manage the pain. It really works.

I am not PG with number 2 and will definitely be re-visiting these techniques for labour again.

Good luck everyone intending to give it a try. I hope you find it as useful as I did.

jessplussomeonenew Thu 07-Jan-16 21:11:15

I loved the book, made me feel much more relaxed generally. Birth didn't go to plan so I never got to try the techniques in proper labour, but they were helpful in the early stages. As it turned out the chapter on how medicalised births can be positive experiences was the one that meant most to me - I'm sure having this in my mind helped me feel positive during and after my EMCS!

manateeandcake Thu 07-Jan-16 21:43:47

I gave birth to dc2 11 weeks ago and had a straightforward, natural birth - I believe partly thanks to Juju Sundin's book. First time round, I'd done hypnobirthing but then had to be induced early, panicked, had an epidural (which didn't work properly for ages) and ended up with a ventouse delivery.

I really wanted to try for fewer interventions second time and that's how I came to the book. For me, it also made more sense than hypnobirthing. The biggest help was vocalising - I made an 'aah' sound through all my contractions once they got serious. I also had my husband count loudly through each contraction, while
running my lower back. The counting helped enormously because I would know when I was more than halfway through the contraction. It wasn't a question of not feeling pain, it just allowed me to manage it better. Best of luck!

friendafar Thu 07-Jan-16 22:15:20

I think the idea of embracing the feelings (some would say that calling them "pain" in itself can inhibit oxytocin and make them feel worse) is not new. She's maybe describing it slightly differently, but I've come across it before.

When I was having my second i got VERY VERY hot during transition. I mentioned it to my midwife and she said, "That's because your body's working very hard." I remember thinking she was right, it was. The acknowledgment of what was happening rather than glossing over it was useful too.

And for me, I can say, truly, I didn't feel contractions as pain. INCREDIBLY intense, definitely, and I was fine with that, but they didn't feel like what excruciating pain does for me - and I wasn't a hypnobirther!!

Latium123 Thu 07-Jan-16 22:41:29

Forgot to mention that I dropped the stress ball in the birth pool mid contraction then just grabbed it back and squeezed it so hard i soaked both DH and the poor student midwife. A moment of hilarious relief in an otherwise very intense situation.

toohardtothinkofaname Fri 08-Jan-16 09:49:57

I've read the book & plan to try the techniques as it all makes sense. I'm 40+6 (grrr) so hopefully updating soon! Was talking to a friend last night who hadn't read the book & she said that humming & singing through labour really helped her stay calm - quite telling really that this is Juju's advice!

I don't think I'll use all the techniques as some seem a bit 'out there' for my comfort zone, but just going in with a tool kit to draw from makes me feel prepared & revved up to nail it!

Latium123 Fri 08-Jan-16 09:53:41

That's exactly the idea toohard - not every technique will work or feel right for everyone but it's trying them out so you can tap into what does work at the time. Good luck to you and at 40+6 I hope you get to try them out very soon wink

Scotinoz Fri 08-Jan-16 10:10:21

It was the recommended reading at the hospital I gave birth at 😀

I thought visualisation, stamping etc all sounded really naff but it's what I ended up doing and had two great births.

glitterbomb80 Fri 08-Jan-16 12:05:32

Awesome! Thanks everyone, that all sounds very positive! I'm prepared for all eventualities when labour kicks in, but it's so good to hear that the methods work.

Good luck everyone giving birth in the next few weeks, and apols to anyone who finds themselves down the corridor from me and my Juju Sundin vocal stylings!

InFrance2014 Fri 08-Jan-16 15:28:11

Awesome book, I always recommend to friends and on MN. I had a straightforward but very fast and intense birth, and after bouncing on feet for a while, could only focus on vocalising (i.e. bellowing to be "louder then the pain"), which was incredibly effective. We had a TENS too, which I didn't feel at the time was doing much, but I think overall it added to the Birth Skills approach of using other sensations to distract your brain from the contractions.
Husband counting me into and out of contractions also SO useful as I lost sense of time, and knowing contraction would be over in 30, then 20, then 10 seconds was very comforting.
Plus pushing advice (coffee plunger) was great, and advice to try and get used to sensation of crowning (we also did perineal massage), as it was something I was really scared about, but it was almost familiar if not pleasant (!) on the day, and I was able to shift to panting easily.
Good luck.

PeppaPigStinks Fri 08-Jan-16 18:43:37

I viewed it as part of my tool kit. I did hypno birthing and read birth skills. I used the stress balls and hypno birthing techniques.

The more you have under your belt so to speak the more prepared I felt!

clarabellski Sat 09-Jan-16 12:36:08

Hi sorry for hijacking but interested in those that tried the vocalising stuff. It wasn't that clear in the book how loud you would get when vocalising. She makes a coy reference to 'match the level of the pain'. Are we talking about primal screaming levels of vocalising? How loud were you 'ahhh'ing?

When I toured the MLU I actually asked how soundproof the rooms where in case I wanted to vocalise and the midwife just laughed and said 'pretty soundproof'. I guess whilst in full active labour you won't give a toss about who hears you do what, but I am a bit hesitant about letting go of my inhibitions and 'going for it' with the vocalising technique. I get the impression with any of the techniques in the book that if you don't commit to it fully, it won't really work.


Latium123 Sun 10-Jan-16 20:56:11

Hi Clarabellski. I don't think I was that loud with vocalising. It certainly wasn't screaming or anything. It is hard to tell though as I had a very short and intense labour so I could well have been very loud. There was nobody else in the Midwives Unit when I was there though.

I think you're right, when you are in full on active labour you won't have any inhibitions, you will just go for it if it feels right. To be honest, I couldn't even see and had to keep asking my DH whether anyone else was in the room (I don't know if that is common or just me). I don't mean that in a scary way, just in a really focussed and intense way where my body had taken over and I was so in the moment, I didn't need to look around or hear anything else going on. Another example is that I thought I'd be shy about taking my pants off when it came to that moment but I literally ran into the room I was allocated and stripped off to naked even though the midwife was saying, no you don't have to get undressed yet, ha ha. See - no inhibitions at all.

clarabellski Mon 11-Jan-16 09:11:25

Thanks Latium

manateeandcake Mon 11-Jan-16 19:33:56

I think I got louder as things got more intense but it wasn't screaming or bellowing. I just did what felt right. I also felt very focused and didn't really notice anyone or anything else. DH did an impression of the midwife for my benefit the other day and I realised I'd barely looked at her.

Coveredintinsel Mon 11-Jan-16 21:24:11

I LOVE this book and couldn't recommend highly enough! I had a home birth with DC2 back in October and can honestly say I enjoyed labour thanks to this. Yes it hurt, yes it was intense but I felt in control and like I could match the pain. I started off focusing on textures around the flat with my fingers whenever I had a surge. By the end I was bashing balls and vocalising for all I was worth. It was brilliant! I feel like I really harnessed all the endorphins my body had to give. When I got to the point where I felt it wasn't "working" any more it turns out I was in transition and DD was born about 20 mins later. (That part I didn't enjoy so much - the part where her head came down and out - that felt horrible, though obviously it was fab once she was actually born)

I also did hypnobirthing which I feel helped keep me calm beforehand.

InFrance2014 Tue 12-Jan-16 12:22:42

Clarabellski I've described it elsewhere as much more like bellowing- have you heard stags rutting? grin Kind of a low, moaning roar. Not screaming. Specifically, screaming from your throat will tighten you up; low moans from your diaphragm/stomach will be better for labour.
I think it did get a bit loud, but as Latium said, if you use these techniques you're very 'in the zone' anyway, trying to focus on the noise as the distraction from the contractions. I did it in France where epidurals are VERY common (like 80-90%), but the midwives were totally supportive of me. Birthing has its own soundtrack, and as with the whole process, the primalness of it is something everyone there is used to wink
For me pushing was actually hardest, and Juju's tips were great for that too, I tried to not make loud noise, and instead push the sound down internally in the "coffee plunger" method.

Thistledew Tue 12-Jan-16 13:19:10

Can I ask if the people who found this technique useful would describe themselves as extroverts or introverts?

I definitely have more introverted tendencies and 'go into myself' if I am feeling upset or hurt. I'm only 13 weeks at the moment and just starting to think about birthing techniques, and although this sounds really interesting and I may get the book, I wonder if hypnobirthing would suit me better?

InFrance2014 Tue 12-Jan-16 15:53:24

Not an extrovert normally; happy doing public things within my job, but not keen on being on stage or anything like that grin

Latium123 Tue 12-Jan-16 20:42:33

I am definitely not an extrovert. Like you, Thistledew, I tend to go into myself when hurt or in pain or ill. It's hard to describe how you feel when in labour but you really don't notice what else is going on when you are really in established labour. Using these techniques just felt right and I had absolutely no self-consciousness about it at all. As I said, I couldn't even see who else was in the room let alone worry about what they thought about my stress ball bashing.

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