ABC's to remember in your birthing space.
Acupressure is a great way to help you to relax, curb nausea, and get labor progressing! Acupressure should be taught by a professional, and only used if its been “okayed” by by your provider.
B-Bouncing on the birth ball
The birth ball is a great tool to have in labor! It is a great way to help your baby to engage their head and move down. Along side bouncing, rocking back and forth, or doing a “hula” type dance can also help open your pelvis and encourage your baby to continue to move into a more optimal position.
C-Change of scenery
Labor land is an interesting place, during your birthing time rhythm, ritual, and routine become increasingly important. Changing scenery can be very beneficial if you're feeling “stuck in a rut” or need some fresh air.
Hiring a doula is a great way to have loads of additional, continuous support for you AND your supportive partner in your birthing space. Doula's can bring a fresh prospective and additional specialized tools acquired through their training and certifications.
Before using EO’s please consult with a professional, and your health care provider. Several Essential Oils have relaxing benefits such as lavender, and rose. Other oils have been used in birthing spaces for centuries such as clary sage.
Don’t forget to have FUN! Laughter has an important roll to play in the birth space.
Guided imagery and hypnosis are important tools to use during your birthing time. As the brain goes into “labor land” the brain naturally wants to enter into a sort of state of hypnosis, giving the brain something to focus on that allows it to become more rhythmic helps to ease anxiety and quiet fears.
Like mentioned above, and will be mentioned again below—oxytocin is such an important element in any birthing space, hugging, dancing, kissing, all of these things help produce more oxytocin. The word Oxytocin itself is derived from a greek work meaning “swift birth” originally thought to only be present in female bodies. Anyway to get these love hormones flowing is going to be beneficial in a birthing space.
Sex to ‘induce’ labor does not have a lot of “scientific backing” some studies will claim that it is an effective way to hasten ones birthing time/bring on labor all together, other studies you’ll find conflicting ideas. However, just to break down what we do know. In order for a baby to be ready to be born first the cervix needs to be “ripe” (soft), the medical way of softening the cervix is to use Cytotec or Cervidil, both of these drugs are the synthetic form of prostaglandin which is found largely in semen. So, if you’re in a safe and/or monogamous relationship where sexual intimacy in your early birthing time is an option, this might be a good option for you—unless otherwise told by your provider not to for medical reasons, or your waters have already released (waters breaking).
Birth can be messy, and birth can be funny—it’s ok to laugh about it! Your Doula, Birth Photographer and Provider won't even bat an eye if something “uncomfortable” or awkward happens (they’ve seen it before) , but it’s ok to lighten the mood and laugh about it with your supportive partner. Joking and laughing can also really help break down stigmas that the media has created surrounding the birthing space.
Bring on all the oxytocin!
Like mentioned above, especially in your early birthing time. (when you're in your active birthing time, it’s normal to not fee like laughing or being playful) laughing can also be a good way to reduce stress. During your birthing time it’s really helpful to draw on ways that you normally cope during an intense situation. While packing your birth bag plan to bring somethings that will help you laugh!
Ina May Gaskin says “if a woman doesn't look like a goddess in labor, someone isn't treating her right.” Is so true. Massage is a great way to get comfortable and relaxed during your birthing time.
Nipple stimulation is a great tool during your birthing time (if okayed by your provider) to help if labor seems to be “stalling out”. Nipple stimulation simulates a baby suckling and intern helps promote the magical oxytocin!
Breathe. Notice your breath. Take time to notice and appreciate your breath. Your oxygen is your energy and as you breathe and oxygenate your blood your baby also receives oxygen. Breathing is more than important, breathing can help you to feel centered, grounded and balanced.
Remembering to go to the bathroom can become an after thought. But sitting on the toilet and urinating has a few really cool benefits, first—it helps relax and release the pelvic floor! Muscle memory is real, and when the birthing person sits on the toilet it helps everything to “let go” also, having an empty bladder gives baby more room to move down.
Taking time to be quiet, to meditate and to be present in the moment can be really soothing and also help to reduce stress.
There is something that I see as a doula at every single birth, and that is resting. Resting is so important. Whether your birthing time is one hour or 21 hours take your time to rest whenever you can.
Swaying, and dancing is a great way to help baby to move down, and to help baby to get into a more optimal position.
Drinking tea is a great way to get additional vitamins and nutrients when keeping actual food down isn't working well.
U-Under Water, Tub, Shower
Also known as hydrotherapy has been proven to help aid in relaxation during one’s birthing time. As the birthing person comes closer to the pushing phase, being in the bathtub also offers “counter presser” of around 30% on the perineum, this could possibly help prevent tearing.
Visualization and affirmations can be really helpful to ease your mind and help you if you are getting overwhelmed. Ritual can be very calming and reassuring.
STAY Hydrated! Hydration is important for tons of reasons. Hydration helps the uterus have more effective contractions, hydration helps the amnionic fluid continue to filter and circulate, and hydration keeps the birthing persons electrolyte levels up!
Hold space for realistic expectations especially around your baby's TIMELINE. Babies need time to be born. And babies need time to get ready to be born. It is so important to allow labor to begin on it’s own, and allow labor to naturally unfold on it’s own. (unless medically advised otherwise by a provider for a legitimate health concern.)
Y-Yellow lighting, dim lighting
Setting up your “birthing cave” is some
Z-Zig Zag hips
Getting baby into an optimal position requires a lot of movement. Moving hips can help baby to do this.