We're officially 14 days past due, and I've finally started having contractions the last couple of days. They're getting pretty intense, but since I can still speak through them, they aren't strong enough to send me to the hospital. (We went in with a false alarm Monday morning.)
I didn't have the time or money to take any labor classes during the pregnancy (was working two jobs for the first two trimesters), so I don't have too many pain management tools in my toolbox right now. I've sort of depended on my mother for advice there. So far, I've gotten some training on using deep, cleansing breaths.
On my own, I've discovered that I can get some relief by creating a sort of current between two inanimate objects. For example, if I'm soaking in the tub, I press my feet firmly into one wall and my shoulders and head into the opposite wall. When standing, I get about a foot or two away from the wall, raise my arms, and push firmly into the wall while solidly planting my feet. I have no idea why this helps, but it does. Unfortunately, my method does not working while I'm lying in bed at night which is when most of my contractions seem to come.
Does anyone have a tip or trick to share to alleviate labor pain either before or after going to the hospital?
asked 30 Dec '09, 07:03
My wife and I took a birthing class on the Bradley method. The goal of the Bradley method is to allow birth to be a natural process, avoiding medical interventions to "speed up" something that naturally takes a day or so to complete, and to manage the pain of labor instead of eliminating it with narcotics. In the class, we learned about many techniques to manage pain.
My wife did a outstanding job and she was able to give birth without the use of drugs. If the pain is too intense, you won't be a failure for having an epidural. But many mothers are able to give birth without getting the shot, and I'm sure you are able as well, so I would encourage you to avoid it. Good luck! You'll do great.
Stuff they recommended (can't speak to what worked exactly, except these seemed to help):
This all kept Tammy going for several hours at the hospital, but due to "back labor" they eventually suggested an epidural. After the epidural, Tammy said, "I haven't had a contraction in a long time", and I looked at the monitor and said, "you're having one right now."
Best wishes! Remember, the first days are emotionally and physically exhausting, for everyone. You're not alone. Hang in there. It gets better!
answered 30 Dec '09, 11:36
The upside to drugs during labor is that, depending on the dosage, it takes the edge off the pain or eliminates it completely allowing you to rest prior to pushing. I had epidurals with both of my kids with both effects. The second time around when I had the lower dosage and therefore more pain, I did find it very helpful to make a sound while breathing out. This can be done with out screaming your throat raw. It is very like a martial artist shouting when kicking or punching (I studied karate in 7th - 9th grades) or a vocal performer phonating to warm up the voice (I also sing barbershop).
While waiting for my epidurals I had to use other pain management methods. I found the breathing methods taught in my birth classes were more likely to cause me to hyperventilate. So instead I breathed in for a count of 4, held my breath for a count of 4, then breathed out for a count of 4.
answered 30 Dec '09, 23:15
Consciously relaxing helped me a lot. My yoga teacher had told me that it is very hard to tense up whilst breathing out, so I found concentrating on the out-breaths really helpful. You breathe in as a reflex, but it is easy to tense up and hold your breath, so remembering to breathe out is important.
I personally found that as labour got more intense I wanted to be left alone, I wanted my husband to hold my hand, so I could squeeze it, but apart from that I didn't want anyone to touch me, so I could concentrate and focus inwards.
I visualised contractions as waves, as they get intense you breathe out and they reach a peak then you can breathe in again as they subside. This is until you get to transition when you might get double-peaks as the contractions opening your cervix give way to those pushing the baby out.
Especially in the final pushing stage I found it helped to keep gravity on my side - babies come out easier down hill. Your tail bone makes a small up hill at the base of your spine if you're lying on your back. This is why active birthing methods talk about staying upright. When I was tired, I would lean forward over a bean bag or the edge of a bed or settee, or as a last resort lie down on my side.
answered 31 Dec '09, 20:10
Many childbirth experts (Dr Sarah Buckley, Ina May Gaskin, Sheila Kitzinger etc.) emphasize the emotional and instinctive aspects of childbirth a lot when writing about pain management and relaxation during birth. So it is not so much about techniques and knowing exactly what and how to do, but trusting your body and letting go in a relaxed, warm and cozy atmosphere.
This excellent article by Dr Sarah Buckley explores the physiology of childbirth, showing that it is a process triggered by the love hormones oxitocin and beta-endorphin - same hormones that are present when making love. Therefore, she emphasizes e.g. the importance of a stress-free, cozy environment, where the mother can feel safe and protected. In this kind of an environment she is able to relax and focus on working with her body in labour. Here is another good article by Dr Buckley.
There are many practical tips how to create this kind of an atmosphere - even in a hospital setting. Ina May Gaskin writes a lot about the meaning of love and touch. In "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" she mentions e.g. kissing with your spouse, which helps in relaxation. In my 2nd labour, we tried and tested this with my dh and yes, I would strongly recommend it. :) You can also use your favourite music, candles, etc. in order to create a familiar and relaxing atmosphere. Metaphors such as putting a flower in a vase and thinking "my cervix is opening like that flower" during contractions might help.
answered 06 Jan '10, 13:31