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Relaxation techniques do not aid childbirth!!

(29 Posts)
bracingair Wed 27-May-09 21:00:29

how can that be?

JODIEwantsanewname Wed 27-May-09 21:01:54

hmm I don't belive that for a second, they helped me enormously (sp?)

Where did you see/hear that?

kiltycoldbum Wed 27-May-09 21:04:15

as much as i tried nothing i learnt for dds birth helped me in the slightest, as much as i wanted to breath deeply etc i just screamed lmao

funny in hindsight
esp when sat here 37+6 hoping to make it to section date

TheBreastmilksOnMe Wed 27-May-09 21:05:37

Relaxation techniques are a load of bull IMHO. Pah.

bracingair Wed 27-May-09 21:07:04

oops article here

wahwah Wed 27-May-09 21:32:43

When I asked my midwife about breathing techniques, she said they didn't bother teaching them because in the moment you need to listen to the midwife and no-one could remember how to do the breathing past a certain point anyway.

Turns out she was spot on.

kiltycoldbum Wed 27-May-09 21:35:25

yes i recall hearing my midwife telling me to stop screaming and save my energy. grin personally i found it terribly helpful!

PinkTulips Wed 27-May-09 21:43:10

they helped me... but then i've dealt with migraines since the age of 2 with no pain relief so i think i had more than my fair share of practice grin

i don't imagine they'd work if it's not a skill you're used to, you need to know how to zone out on command to do so.

they don't dull the pain, just help you ride through it without screaming and sobbing, the only sound i made in all three labours with no pain relief was a few dull moans here and there. dp was rather shocked with the first as he expected screaming and roaring and the mws never believe me when i say i need to push as they don't think i look to be in enough pain grin

lal123 Wed 27-May-09 21:45:40

helped me in the early stages, but went completely out the window when things got really going. I don't think they make a huge difference to the outcome -i.e. if you're going to need a medical intervention then relaxation techniques won't help

Reallytired Wed 27-May-09 23:15:21

I think the problem with relaxation techniques is that they need a lot of practice and most women simply don't have the time. I also think that general antenatal classes are important. It shouldn't be a case of one or the other.

I did lose the plot a little bit at the end of the first stage, just before transition. However I think that was lack of practice rather than saying that self hypnosis techniques failed. Even so I did manage to give birth with nothing more than TENS.

I think that relaxation/ breathing techniques helped me. It stopped adrelerin getting the better of me, so my energeries went into the contractions. Aderelerin diverts blood to the brain, arm and legs to enable flight or response from danger. It can mean that your uterus gets less blood and slows down labour.

JODIEwantsanewname Thu 28-May-09 08:41:09

Practise definatly (sp?) helps, I was lucky enough to be able to go to an ante-natal yoga class every week from 15 weeks, so when it came to the big moment it was second nature to me. The breathing and movement techniques really made a difference to the pain.

violethill Thu 28-May-09 10:49:15

I can kind of see where the article is coming from, because I did NCT classes where breathing and relaxation was quite a big focus, and the majority of the class still chose to book into a large hospital and have epidurals!! (These were mostly first time mums) The two of us who booked into a midwife unit and have natural births were viewed as very brave or bonkers!

On the other hand, I do think relaxation helps a lot, but you have to practise it and believe in it. I think a lot of women are half hearted - they like the idea of the natural, breathing thing, but never totally believe that they can manage without the whole medicalised thing too, and then end up going down that route.

LeninGrad Thu 28-May-09 10:55:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

juuule Thu 28-May-09 10:59:31

Definitely helped me.

MrsHappy Thu 28-May-09 11:04:58

I know that relaxation techniques can help in stressful or painful situations. I have used them to help with visits to the dentist (am v phobic), asthma and uncomfortable medical procedures. But I think it can be quite hard, even if you have practiced, to focus properly in hospital since sometimes you simply are not left in peace for long without something unpleasant (attempted blood tests, monitors being moved, internals etc) being done to you. Every time someone came in to my room my relaxation attempts went out of the window and I had an epidural mostly because I wasn't allowed to deal with the pain in my own way (was strapped to a monitor on the bed), knew I was likely to have a 30+ hour labour and so decided that if I wasn't allowed to do what I wanted to deal with the pain I would have the epi and sleep instead!

I would also be interested to know whether in the study they asked the woman in advance what their expectation of pain in labour was. I've read about studies where women who expected pain to be manageable went on to have low epidural rates. There are a lot of variables in all of this...

LeninGrad Thu 28-May-09 11:18:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ChocolateRabbit Thu 28-May-09 11:25:42

I was quite surprised by this article in the Guardian as well and particularly the oh so amusing comment from Richard Adams (who is a guardian commentator) which I'm copying and pasting for those who don't like links:

"Excellent piece Ros, thank you for writing it.

Could readers please try not to compare the NCT to the Taliban? It's important to recognise that there are real differences: one is a band of fanatics blinded by ideology ... and the other's the Taliban. Thank you."

Personally, I didn't do NCT classes for DC1 although I will for DC2 and I didn't find relaxation techniques particularly helpful. It might have been because I had to be continuously monitored and on my back because the trainee midwife picked up my heartbeat rather than DDs...

sorky Thu 28-May-09 11:27:12

Definitely helped me.
I used a natal hypnotherapy cd in the last trimester and was very calm approaching my 4th birth. The birth itself was very manageable with breathing.
I used some G&A at transition but it ran out very quickly and I did the rest using the techniques I'd learned.

The difference between my first and fourth is that I knew I could do it and I was much more positive about labour. My first was scary and medicalised.

juuule Thu 28-May-09 11:33:49

The relaxation techniques which I was shown 22years ago in NHS antenatal classes were really helpful to me during my horrendous first induced labour.
I also used the same techniques during subsequent labours.

Littlefish Thu 28-May-09 11:36:52

Definitely helped me, but then I've been doing yoga and have sung professionally, so breathing techniques are second nature to me.

I can see that if you're not completely sure of the techniques, then it would be difficult to sustain them during labour.

violethill Thu 28-May-09 11:37:58

sorky - you're not alone in that. When you read threads I'm always amazed by the sheer numbers who have a very medicalised first birth, and then go the natural route almost as a reaction to it.

Which I guess is good if they then feel better about subsequent births, but what a shame so many women lack confidence to go natural in the first place.

I relied heavily on breathing and relaxation first time round, but it definitely needed practice, a supportive midwife (and a few whiffs of g and a while being stitched aferwards!)

sorky Thu 28-May-09 11:42:10

I know I wouldve found my first birth easier if rather than showing how a baby descends the pelvis and what forceps looked like, the AN classes had taught breathing and promoted natural childbirth.

But then my 1st birth has radicalised me somewhat. I truly believe home births should be the default unless the pg has been complicated, there is simply no need to go to hospital imho.

violethill Thu 28-May-09 11:47:44

I believe either home births or midwife led units should be the norm for straightforward, low risk pregnancies and births. Having had a CSection second time around for medical reasons, I can see that a hospital birth is absolutely the right thing when things aren't straightforward, but actually has big disadvantages when they are. The medical team were utterly brilliant with my second, very prem, baby. However, the hospital was a pretty grim experience for my third (VBAC) which actually was a straightforward birth on g and a, but sadly I was not allowed the midwife unit as I was now deemed high risk. I cannot understand why women opt for medicalised births when there is no medical reason.

sorky Thu 28-May-09 11:53:11


violethill Thu 28-May-09 11:58:28

In which case something is going terribly wrong with antenatal support in this country.

It's strange though, because overall I felt my NCT classes were very good, with the right balance of factual information, practical work on relaxation and breathing etc. Yet I still remember the discussion about where we were all going to book to have our babies, and only two of us went for the midwife led unit (it's a gorgeous place a couple of miles along the road). The other 8 opted for hospital. And most of those 8 ended up with medicalised births - even though their pregnancies had been straightforward!!

It's difficult to know how those fears should be addressed isn't it. Hand on heart I couldn't fault my classes, though maybe I was lucky and other people don't have such a good experience.

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