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Coping with Childbirth – As Nature Intended

‘The key to natural childbirth is to calm the mind & let your body do its thing’

Every first time mother asks herself the question ‘how will I cope with labour?’ As a mother and a midwife I know that you can and do cope with labour.  Childbirth is a natural physical process, our bodies are designed to undergo this sensational moment. Here we discuss the many alternative methods of coping with childbirth just the way nature intended. Hand holding baby

Firstly why does normal birth matter in the 21st century? Because it is known that medical interventions can increase the risk of poor outcomes. Thomas & Paranjorthy (2001) state that medical procedures are associated with physical, and psychological morbidity and mortality. The recovery rate for women who deliver normal is much quicker both physically and emotionally (RCM 2007). Women are left empowered and this is a priceless feeling, birth advocates, such as Midwives, Doulas and Antenatal Educators all strive to improve outcomes for women.

So here are some very important tips for you.

  1. Being physically fit and healthy really does stand you in good stead for the big day. The first tip I give women is to undertake some low impact exercise on a regular basis, 3 times a week is a good place to start. Walking, swimming, aerobics or yoga are all useful during pregnancy so get started this week.
  2. Antenatal Education the RCM & NICE (2014) state that all women should have access to prenatal education. Antenatal classes are only as good as the teacher and some NHS classes are over subscribed whilst some private organisations can be expensive and lead to high expectations.  Choose classes where the educator has had experiences working within the NHS (UK Only) in order to give you a real insight to what to expect.
  3. Hypnotherapy is another great resource, because I attended a practitioner course early in my career I would highly recommend Natalhypnotherapy founder Maggie Howell really knows here stuff and I have seen these techniques work in labour.  They provide a hypnotherapy app for you so please check them out.
  4. Consider a birthing centre, or home birth there are many birthing centres up and down the UK and they provide a calm and safe environment for bringing your baby into this world massage
  5. Turn off your mind to rational thoughts during labour, birthing guru Michelle Odent explains that the neocortex hinders the primal part of our brain during labour.
  6. Alternative therapies may be beneficial to many women during labour. If you are lucky you may be cared for by a midwife who has accredited training in aromatherapy or reflexology.  The expectancy website is a great resource and gives women valuable information.  Founder Midwife Denise Tiran is driven to provide holistic care and reduce intervention rates. Remember massage birthing partners can really help relax and promote the production of oxytocin and endorphin’s by offering labouring women a massage during labour.
  7. Consider a water birth please, I highly recommend water as a tool in labour.  Water is natures epidural and many birth centres now provide water pools. If you choose a home birth then active birth pools is a great resource. I have seen many first time mums cope with labour when immersed in water, I myself experienced water immersion with my second son many years ago and I promise you it is an amazing tool, if your wary of giving birth in the pool then you can get out.  Furthermore most UK Midwives should be fully trained in caring for you whilst you are in the pool.water baby art
  8. Research the TENS machine. TENS stands for trans cutaneous electrical stimulation This little machine gives of a small electrical current and is applied to your back it is designed to interfere with the signals being sent to the brain. It is best applied during the latent phase of labour, as applying it in established labour can be ineffective I have seen women cope very well until 6cm using this gadget.
  9. My last tip focuses on being active during labour.  Gravity can impact on labour. Laying on a hospital bed in the ‘stranded beetle’ position can slow labour down.  So it really is important that you are able to move around rock your hips and squat if needed.  Research Optimal Fetal Positions as the way baby lays in your womb can also have an effect on labour.

Finally I would like to add have a chat with your Midwife or Doula have a written birth plan keep expectations low. Let nature do the thinking, you are there to support your baby through its journey, in a calm safe environment.

Wendy Kuharska (was Richert)[paypal_donation_button]

Registered Midwife – Antenatal education & pregnancy advice

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References

National Institue of Clinical Excellence (NICE) 2014 Intrapartum Care for Healthy Women & Babies

Royal College of Midwifes online https://www.rcm.org.uk/sites/default/files/NormalBirthConsensusStatement.pdf

Thomas J, Paranjothy S, and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Clinical Effectiveness Support Unit. National sentinel caesareansection audit report. London: RCOG Press; 2001.

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