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Am I right in thinking it doesn;t really matter what you do - the baby will come when and how it wants to?(16 Posts)
I keep reading about people who massage their perineum, people who rub cream on their tummy, people who have curry/pineapple/sex when baby is due, people who do yoga, people who don't do yoga etc etc. But am I right in thinking that whatever you do or don't do (excluding banned foods, booze and drugs of course) the baby will come when it's ready and how it wants to. I mean I know people who did everything right and had bad births, and people who did no preparation and had good births - seems to me there is no link so no point worrying. Or am I being silly and are there things I should do?
There are things you should do - relax and get lots of rest in preparation for the labour/birth and motherhood.
I tried everything with the last one and the baby arrived the day after her due date when I had given up giving myself uncomfortable BH through nipple stimulation etc.
Take it easy - the baby will come how and when it wants to.
From my experience, all the things you've mentioned are those that have little evidence to support them as being useful, but I'd also put them all into a category of "things that you can do that don't hinder and make you feel like you're doing something". For me:
DH massaged my perineum (no way I could reach!) for a good few weeks before DD1 was born. She was 9lb 12 with a reasonable large head but I had no perineal tears. Haven't got a clue whether it helped or not.
I rubbed lots of cream on my tummy as it helped with the itching as the skin stretched.
I did yoga, although not while pregnant, and found I automatically used the mental/meditation exercises in labour - I stayed very calm and quiet and really quite enjoyed the experience.
But each to their own. Just because it was right for me doesn't mean its right for everyone. There's only any point to any of them if they help you.
i don't think there's anything you can do to start labour at home.
the only thing i really focused on that made a huge impact on the type of birth i had was to do as much relaxation and mental preparation as possible. i went through it in my head several times a day, every day how calm and relaxed and in control i would be and i had 2 perfect, quick, natural home births. absolutely everything i hoped and planned they would be. i actually did hypnobirthing and was a totally different person compared to when i got pregnant (terrified, control freak, nervous wreck, wanting to give birth totally alone in a locked room!)
I don't think that there's anything you can do at home to start labour, but when you get close to the end it can sometimes really help to feel as though you're doing something, rather than just sitting around waiting.
With DS I went over by 10 days, had everyone telling me to try all sorts of things to get labour going, and I didn't do any of them. The day I went in to labour we'd been walking around town all day, a lot of people seem to think it was me walking that did it, but I don't think so at all, he was just ready to come then.
I have heard that perenial massage can help against tears as it helps the skin stretch more easily, but I suppose that's also just a theory.
I was really calm and relaxed about the impending birth, this was what my body was made for etc, and had a horrendous time, EMCS and have suffered from PTSD and PND because of it, so I don't think there's anything you can do mentally that can impact how your birth will go, plenty of people are terrified about the whole thing and it all goes smoothly in the end.
"so I don't think there's anything you can do mentally that can impact how your birth will go"
I totally agree. While it is nice to try and have a positive attitude, it doesn't actually change what will happen.
I now believe that you are dealt a hand of cards at the start of labour and although you can work to make the most of what you have been given. Sometimes the cards will dictate a very different path than you have planned.
I agree YF.
The "token" interventions, such as sweeps, sex and pineapples - I believe - just lead to niggly contractions that irritate/stress you and do nothing to dilate the cervix.
My belief is that you should let nature takes its course unless there are medical reasons not to. And if there are medical reasons, then you might as well go for a dead-cert medical intervention.
There is a fair bit of research on Optimal Fetal Positioning that is fairly compelling, iirc.
"I now believe that you are dealt a hand of cards at the start of labour and although you can work to make the most of what you have been given. Sometimes the cards will dictate a very different path than you have planned."
I completely agree with that, and that was actually exactly what I've been told by my midwife with regards to me blaming myself for how the birth went. There was nothing I did "wrong", I just got dealt a bad hand, and we did the best we could with that.
There's actual evidence on the perineum thing, that it does improve your odds a bit, but for the other stuff...not so much.
The one thing that I do know, is that if you spend the week before your birth (I know, I know, it's a tricky concept) getting your haircut, waxing your legs, doing all the ironing (sitting down, while watching a DVD box set) and having a pedicure (or whatever grooming you feel is essential to you), and pre-preparing thankyou cards, then you may feel slightly more in control of life when your baby is four weeks old.
I don't think that is much you can do but swear by raspberry leaf tea to shorten the second stage of labour, it worked with DD1 and DD2 and I'll be drinking it again this time from 32 weeks. :-)
i'm 40+3 and getting induced on the 5th august but really would prefer to go into labour naturally so was thinking of buying some raspberry leaf tea & tablets. what do ya think?
Raspbery leaf tea does not induce labour. It only serves to strengthen the muscles in the womb. You can drink it until you turn into a raspberry but it will not bring on labour.
Induction is induction is induction and I think that trying to induce your body, with any method before it is ready can potentially lead to problems. Your body needs to do it in its own time so that it has a chance to warm up and the baby get into the correct position so even though waiting is frustrating, have faith in your body to get thigns strarted when it is ready.
Sorry should have been clear. I'm only 20 weeks pregnant so not trying to bring on labour. Just meant I've been doing lots of reading this forum and ultimately it seems whatever people do it doesn't really affect their birth story.
I think there are definitely things you can do which give you a better outcome than you would otherwise have had, which is why saying "some people do everything and still have a bad labour" doesnt really stack up, as they might well have had a far worse one if they hadnt done those things. On that basis, it's very difficult to "prove" whether things work or not as there's no control.
I'm going into it thinking that I want to give myself the best possible chance of a natural, intervention free birth. If it doesnt happen, then so be it, but at least I've given it my best shot. If nothing else, at least I feel better during late pregnancy just from keeping mobile, stretching, flexing and relaxing my body etc.
I've seen 3 people from my yoga class manage to turn breech/ transverse babies through yoga techniques- one literally at the 11th hour the day before before the Obs was going to insist on a caesarian- she had a vaginal birth with G&A only and was so happy.
I do also think that going into labour accepting that it will probably hurt but not fearing that, being relaxed and feeling in touch with your body will help you. When you are fearful or stressed, your body will produce adrenalin which will slow/halt labour (reaction designed to ensure survival).
Not sure if you've seen "The Business of Giving Birth". V US centric but quite thought provoking as to why we end up with so many interventions during labour in the west.
Babieseverywhere: "I now believe that you are dealt a hand of cards at the start of labour and although you can work to make the most of what you have been given. Sometimes the cards will dictate a very different path than you have planned."
I think this is very pragmatic. For some labours there is nothing that you can do to change the outcome. But that doesn't mean its true for all labours - and being in a good mental state means, IMO, that you are more likely to be able to make the most of whatever cards you wind up with.
As BaggedandTagged says, hormones have a profound impact on labour and so anything we can do to try and keep adrenaline at bay while getting lots of oxytocin flowing can only help a labour go as well as possible.
I agree with the statement that the baby will come when he/she's ready (barring induction/sweeps, etc), but some of the things you listed have nothing to do with trying to get the baby to come at any specific time: Rubbing cream into your belly (stretch marks/itchy skin), yoga (general health in pregnancy/wellbeing), perinium massage (trying to avoid major tearing).
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