Laying in bed is not the most comfortable position when you are trying to labor naturally. Your precious baby is being pressed further down into your pelvis with each and every contraction; your spine and tailbone happen to be part of the highway they are traveling on, so you want to create ample room.
If you choose to receive an epidural, you may no longer feel the discomfort from your baby descending, but you may still find that lying directly on your back is uncomfortable – a slight tilt to you side along with a peanut ball or pillows to prop your legs open will make your position much more comfortable.
There are a few main positions that can benefit a laboring mom and within those main positions there are many variations to help.
My first suggestion would be to...
Ok so this isn’t a position, but it is super helpful! Wiggle, dance, sway… move your body around. This will help your body stay loose and relaxed.
Use gravity to your best advantage! Getting off your back can be instrumental to feeling comfortable in labor.
3. Hands and Knees
Hang over a birth ball, or rest on some pillows - this position will allow you some rest from standing. It can relieve pressure off of your back.
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Sit on a birthing stool, sit on a toilet, adjust the hospital bed to become a chair. This naturally puts your body in an upright position - using gravity - and opens your pelvis.
5. Side Lying
This is great for getting some rest when you are tired. Use this position with a peanut ball or some pillows between your legs and it will keep your pelvis nice and open for baby to move down.
Squatting can open the pelvis up to 30% wider.
Take an AMAZING COMFORT MEASURES class ONLINE!!!! Or take a LIVE class with Alabama Births in Gadsden, Alabama!
Have you considered hiring a doula to help you navigate this amazing journey? I would love to meet with you for a free consultation regarding how a doula can benefit your birth goals!
There are many ways to relieve pain during labor. There are the medicated options, but in this 4 part series I plan to cover the many natural pain-relieving techniques. The different categories of comfort measures that will be covered in this 4 part series are environment, positions, tools, and touch.
I recently heard someone say this, your birth space should feel similar to the environment of a spa.
That is a great way to help visualize your birth space – dark lighting, soft music, warm room, relaxing atmosphere, and a pampered momma! Setting up your birth space is so important, whether you plan to birth at home, a birth center, or at the hospital. There are many things that can help you have a more peaceful experience. I like to use the 5 senses as a starting point; it is amazing all the things our senses pick up and sometimes those sensory invaders can become helps or hindrances.
It is said that our eyes are the window to our soul. What is in your window? Are you taking in pleasant sights or are there stressors present? Some tips for setting up your ‘sight’ environment would be to…
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Sound is something many people may not realize is overloading mom’s senses because we naturally tune things out, but when a mother is in labor she tends to pick up on everything. To help create a peaceful ‘sound’ environment…
The worst thing to do, if I was the laboring mom, would be to arrive with onion breath! Just DON’T do it! Instead try…
It is so important to make sure mom is properly hydrated and fueled up for the labor progress! I highly suggest a whole foods diet for pregnancy – it will help mom get lots of nutrients and vitamins to give her the strength and stamina to sustain her in labor. Consider the following…
In part 4 of this comfort measures series I will cover the topic of touch in much greater detail, but for now here are some helpful tips to helping a laboring woman feel better…
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Emotions are a huge part of the environment; they can set the tone of the whole birth space. So be aware of how they are influencing the atmosphere…
I didn’t know where to put this last tip, but really it should be first on your list… get mom to use the restroom, frequently!
If you are planning to change labor locations, for example, you plan to move from laboring at home to laboring at your hospital or birth center of choice, consider how you can reset your birth space when you arrive. Maybe you plan to bring a speaker for soft music, some battery operated candles for ambient lighting, and printed affirmations (with tape) to post around the room!
Another great option to help you accomplish everything listed above, is to hire a doula! A doula helps you do the thinking so both mom and dad can have a relaxing, enjoyable birth experience! Click here to find out how to get a doula!
One of my favorite things is seeing someone’s birth space or an affirmation that worked for them… Tell me how you are preparing your space or post a picture of how you would decorate your birth space!
If you are looking to join a childbirth class, I encourage you to check out my Birth Boot Camp class series! It is incredibly informative, fun, and couples walk away feeling prepared for an amazing birth!
When a mom feels the urge to push, there are so many things running through her head… excitement that this journey is almost over, nervousness that now she has to push a baby out, relief that she can actively engage with her contraction.
In a hospital setting a lot of things begin to happen at the very same time. A nurse begins prepping all the doctors/midwifes tools. They help the care provider get dressed in a special gown. Depending on how fast you are pushing, they call the baby team in who then begins preparing their station, all while you are trying to navigate the pushing phase. The cacophony of voices can become a little distracting.
So here are some tips to navigate the pushing phase…
1. Find a position that works for you
Don’t be afraid to try different positions. Many women, if left to their own ways, would choose position that is relatively upright… squatting, kneeling, leaning over a bed, hand and knees, even some standing positions can be great. Often women end up on their backs, and while a baby will still come out, it isn’t the most helpful position. Try side-lying instead of laying on your back if possible.
2. Wait for the swell
If you can push spontaneously then wait for the swell and go with your body, push when you feel the urge. When the swells goes, let go of your pushing. Wasted energy is draining.
3. Push like you have to poop
I know this sounds weird, but if you push in this way, then you have good form. And guess what, if you poop, then you are REALLY doing a good job! (Also, no one will draw attention to you pooping, in most cases you and your spouse will not even know it happened because doctors and nurses are amazingly discrete about it.)
4. Ask for supportive feedback
Pushing is not the easiest task and there are lots of people in the room who have different perspectives and may be able to give you helpful tips to either open your pelvis wider or release pent up tension in one part of your body to help you to direct it to another part.
5. When it burns, breathe lightly
When you feel that “ring of fire” it is your bodies way of saying slow down, let me open gently. It is your body’s way of trying to prevent tearing. And guess what, It won’t last long, PROMISE!
6. Tune into one voice
If you need coaching throughout your pushing phase, listen to the voice that resonates above all the others – the one voice that you understand. Tell them you are relying on their lead and they will be glad to help!
7. Ask for a mirror
Sometimes being able to see what your body is doing can be helpful. When you see how one style of pushing had more progress than another style, it empowers you to keep at it!
8. Try a Birth Stool/Birth Bar
Using gravity to your advantage will assist your pushing progress. ***Ask if these things are available before the pushing phase begins or else you may not remember them as an option.
I wish you the very best!
You are about to find out how strong you truly are!
If you would like more pushing practice, please check out my Birth Boot Camp class series!
If you don’t live in the Gadsden, Alabama area, I have online classes available.
And lastly, if you need the support of a doula, please message me and we can get together!
My name is Jillian and I am a Doula, Childbirth Educator, Placenta Encapsultor, and Trainer for Birth Boot Camp, living in the Rainbow City, Alabama. I believe in women and that they deserve support throughout their pregnancy and births no matter what method of birth they desire. I myself am a mother to 4 girls; each of their births were vastly different.