Pregnancy Massage Practitioner Clare Houston has birthed two beautiful babes, and in this blog, she shares her knowledge and what you must go into labour knowing.
Trust your body.
The human body is really quite amazing and you are too! It was designed to grow another human and to birth it. In saying this, empower yourself and get all the information you can. I found a really good book was Birth With Confidence, by Rhea Dempsey. Also know what was available at your hospital – what their timelines are, how long will they let you labour, are water births available.
A birth plan helps.
My sister laughed at me when I wrote one before both of my daughters were born, but it helped me sort out what I was comfortable with and what I was not. For example: I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of how some pain killers would affect the baby, so I put that in writing. Also, I wanted to avoid a C-section unless it was medically necessary. This gave me peace of mind, knowing the options available to me.
Labour is a positive feedback loop.
The body works continuously to maintain homeostasis, where the body continuously adjusts temperature, hormones and fluid levels to maintain equilibrium. This is achieved with feedback loops, negative and positive. A negative feedback loops work to reduce the initial stimulus, so if you are bleeding the body will send platelets to the area to aid clotting. A positive feedback loop amplifies the initial stimulus, so when labour begins baby pushes down on the cervix causing it to dilate, sending a message to the brain to release oxytocin, which then causes the smooth muscle of the uterus to contract causing the baby to push against the cervix again – and this will continue till the baby has been born and the placenta is out. For me, knowing this made it a little easier knowing my body was doing the right thing and it was normal.
Calm Birth courses are great
(or any other Child Praparation course)
It is not just for the mother-to-be but it can give great advice for birth partners too, and how they can help when they are thinking “Oh God, what did I do to her?!”
These courses also helped me understand the ebb and flow of contractions – they do not last forever and have a rhythm/flow to them. When I did the Calm Birth course for my first time, they had us hold a piece of ice for the approximate length of a contraction, then let go for the rest and then pick it up for the next contraction.
It was good to know that there is a natural break of sorts, and if you stay calm and focus on the breath, it gives you time. Your contractions can slow down or stop when you reach the hospital – this is due to leaving a familiar place and going somewhere unfamiliar and much colder than your home environment.
No one knows how things will progress.
You could have a beautiful home birth and love every second of it, or you might have complications that were not able to be detected before you got to the hospital. Everybody has a different story and experience. Listen to those around you if you want to, but don’t think what happens to them will happen to you.
And know we are here for massages when you need, (wink).