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Top Labour tips

(25 Posts)
mersmam Thu 12-Feb-09 10:12:23

I'm due to give birth in early May to my fourth (and probably last) DC. As this might be my last experience of giving birth I want to make the whole thing the best it can possibly be. Trouble is, with three other DCs under five, I don't have the time or energy to do much reading up on tips to make things go smoothly. I read EVERYTHING when I was expecting DC2 and that was definitely my best birth so far - knowledge does equal power when it comes to childbirth I think...

So what I want to know is everyone's top tips on how to make the whole labour and birth thing a better experience.
Any ideas on what ideas to focus on/ breathing techniques/ positions etc... would be great (I'm hoping to make things as natural as possible so please don't answer with 'Have all the drugs' grin)- the simpler and briefer the ideas the better!

I suppose my own top tips would be to stay upright as much as possible, and close your eyes and concentrate on breathing through contractions.

Hope lots of you have lots more ideas!

lindenlass Thu 12-Feb-09 10:13:18

can you find the time to go to an antenatal yoga class?

mersmam Thu 12-Feb-09 10:24:57

It would be hard - there are none really close to where I live, and also DH does not get home from work until quite late in the evenings and I have no-one else around who would put the children to bed.
Unfortunately most of the swotting up I do will have to be from books or from mumsnet (and I find the mumsnet swotting much easier!)

Astarte Thu 12-Feb-09 11:01:07

*get a hypnobirthing cd to listen to when they've gone to bed. helps to relax you and prepare for the birth.
*buy janet balaskas' book 'active birth'- fab!
*hire a pool and have a home water birth, the most fantastic birth a woman can have imho.

DaisyMooSteiner Thu 12-Feb-09 11:05:56

I would make time to read one book - Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. It's fab, really positive and inspiring.

I would also seriously consider booking a home birth; giving birth is generally so much easier in your own surroundings.

mersmam Thu 12-Feb-09 11:16:05

Thanks Astarte and DaisyMoo!
I had homebirths with DCs 2 and 3, but DC3 was very big and his shoulder got a bit stuck on the way out. Consequently (in case this one is even bigger) am opting for the hospital this time round - my plan is to get there 30 mins before the birth and leave 2 hours after so long as things go OK smile.
I went on a tour of the maternity unit last weekend and it seemed OK - I'm just a bit worried as i have my own labour 'routine' at home that I'm used to, and things will obviously be different this time with the car journey etc... (hospital is only five minutes away though).

I have a CD which I must make time to listen too and I also have the Janet Balaskas book which I read in my last two pregnancies and found fab. I think to be honest, having had a bit of a scary experience last time, I'm just a bit scared to start reading the books and face up to the reality of it all... I know I'll have to though. I ignored it all with DC1 and pretended it wasn't happening right up until labour started - and found that really is not the best course of action smile

The hospital I'm going to has a birthing pool, but I'm not really a 'water' person (!) so the idea has never been overly appealing to me, I think it would just get on my nerves! I can see it must be great if you like the water generally though.

I will have a look on Amazon for that Ina May Guide now - positive and inspiring is def what I need!!

iwouldgoouttonight Thu 12-Feb-09 11:32:17

My tip is 'keep walking'! I marched around the house and then around the delivery room with both my labours and it definitely helped me deal with the contractions, and get the baby in the right position. I think it helps make you feel more positive and in control too. With my second birth the midwife had to virtually drag me onto all fours as DD came out because I just wanted to keep on walking and it didn't occur to me at the time that someone would need to catch the baby!

I'd agree about spending as little time in hospital as possible - I live about 5 mins drive from our hospital too and managed to have a contraction, jump in the car and make DP drive as fast as possible and then jump out at the other end and had the next contraction so I didn't have to deal with any while sitting down! DD was born 30 mins later!

And try to enjoy it!

AnnVan Thu 12-Feb-09 12:02:53

Slow deep breaths really help with contraction pains
hire a tens machine for the early part of labour
Keep active - I was strapped to a monitor so immobile for a bout an hour, and by halfway through I just wanted to scream
Don't get too hung up on a particular 'type' of birth, relax and take it as it comes.

oregonianabroad Thu 12-Feb-09 12:06:11

heee-heee-ho-ho breathing through contractions helped me loads (learned about it on an ancient video about childbrith). It really worked, in spite of the mw telling me i was going to hyperventilate (apparently not during labour, you need the extra oxygen??).

Walking during contractions/ standing up as long as possible.

Best wishes for a great delivery!

mersmam Thu 12-Feb-09 12:21:35

Great tips thank you - I definitely agree with the 'keep walking' idea iwouldgoouttonight smile

reikizen Thu 12-Feb-09 12:32:58

mersmam, I know it's probably scared the bejesus out of you but it doesn't mean it will happen again. 48% of shoulder dystocias happen with infants under 4kg so size is no real indicator as to what will happen. Birth position can help a lot (i.e. not lying down!) I'm with those who advocate keep on your feet, or an a birth ball but not on the bed! Don't fight the contractions, they will come anyway, welcome them. Turn your ideas about them on their head, just say 'Bring em on!' mentally and get on with it. Go inside yourself, get in the zone and breathe that baby out. good luck. Remember. It's hard work, it hurts, and YOU CAN DO IT. wink

mersmam Thu 12-Feb-09 13:04:43

Thanks Reikizen.
I'm really hoping the shoulder dystocia will not happen again (Counting on it in fact!!) However, last time I was walking around etc... and it still happened, and my guess is that if he'd been smaller it would not have been a problem.
DH and me have thought and debated long and hard home vs hospital and come to the conclusion that if there WAS a problem we would never forgive ourselves - as we had our 'warning' last time.
The hospital being so close to home is a definite bonus, and they seem OK with my plans to leave ASAP which makes me feel better... So all in all I THINK I feel that hospital is the right thing this time around...although I feel very priviledged to have had my two successful home births.

Astarte Thu 12-Feb-09 13:31:44

My dc2 was a hwb and had shoulder dystocia.
I think the water really helped with the counter pressure in preventing me from tearing, in fact I know it did.
M/w advised me to change position in the water but he couldn't turn/shift, so she inserted a finger under his armpit and gave a tug to release him. IT HURT!

...but it got him out.

My dc3 was another hwb but was straightforward, in fact he shot out.

M/w thought the SD might have been because dc2 was OP prior to labour, turning in labour, but obviously not enough by the time he had fully descended. He was quite big too.

clarabell16 Thu 12-Feb-09 13:49:01

Hi, all the others have said - walk around, dont lay down etc, and i echo that. Just a tip for eating and drinking - You've probably thought of it, but i highly recommend those drinks with the squirty tops, that you can just shoot the liquid into your mouth before the next contraction hits, to prevent dehydration. As you can obviously tell, i had no time to sip nicely!

Sheeta Thu 12-Feb-09 13:51:28

TENS machine.

mersmam Thu 12-Feb-09 18:07:59

That's quite encouraging Astarte re your dc3 being a straightforward birth (hope my dc4 is the same!)

Squirty top drinks is a great idea smile and YES def a TENS machine - it helped me enormously with dc2, although not so much with dc3 as the labour was extremely quick and intense.

THANK YOU again for all suggestions so far!

littlelamb Thu 12-Feb-09 18:13:15

I second Ina May. I only discovered her second time around but it is full of brilliant stuff. And stand up. I was amazed when they offered me a wheelchair when I arrived at the hospital - it was the last thing I wanted

mersmam Thu 12-Feb-09 18:30:07

have already ordered the Ina May book and am hoping it will inspire me! smile

BoffinMum Mon 16-Feb-09 14:03:18

You could reduce the likelihood of a repeat shoulder dystocia if you work on optimal foetal positioning and have a few sessions with a chiropractor.

My plan would be:

* Say 4 sessions with a chiropractor who deals with pg women beforehand.
* Sit on a Swiss ball in the evenings whilst watching telly or whatever. Have a look at the Spinning Babies website for a bit of theory.
* TENS from first contractions (PhysioMed TPN40 is only £34)
* Water pool for pain relief before, during or after if desired (also can help with foetal positioning and birthing big babies).
* Take arnica when you remember as that might speed up healing a bit
* Marie Mongan Hypnobirthing CD and book if you have time. Failing that just play the CD a few times at bedtime to get used to it, and whack it on when you go into labour.

MustHaveaVeryShortMemory Mon 16-Feb-09 14:40:40

<hijack> BoffinMum: dd 1 was in an awkward position. Do you know of any evidence that chiropractors improve foetal positioning? Would like to have number two without quite so much effort!

BoffinMum Mon 16-Feb-09 14:57:11

Memory, I am not sure anyone has done a formal study, which as it's supposed to be an alternative therapy doesn't surprise me, but all the chiropractors I know do this and are very committed to it, and FWIW I have road tested the theory myself and it's worked on me, even turning a breech baby once. Put it this way, it does no harm and might do some good, and is good for back care in pg anyway.

Here is some stuff on optimal foetal positioning:

Spinning Babies website

mersmam Mon 16-Feb-09 15:25:30

Thanks Boffinmum - some really useful advise - the spinning babies website is great.

BoffinMum Mon 16-Feb-09 15:39:55

I love that pic of the baby drawn on the tummy, don't you??

mersmam Mon 16-Feb-09 19:35:12

Yes it's fab grin

MoshiMoshi Tue 10-Mar-09 11:34:51

mersmam - interested to read your thread as I am also expecting DC4 - our last - (in April) and looking for a great final birth experience. After an induced and assisted first birth I had two spontaneous, quick and drug free births. But both were (to use someone else's phrase) Schumacher labours - I just went along for the ride and they were INTENSE and fairly quick. So my ideas of being active went out of the window and I was sort of incapacitated by it all and lying on my side to try and deal with the contractions. I have bought Maggie Howell's natal hyponotheraphy CD in the hope of helping but am not sure what else to do really so will watch this discussion with interest! Good luck.

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