Monday, June 13, 2011

Relaxing During Natural Labor?

What did you find was your best way to relax during natural labor?

a) Exercise ball
b) Hot shower/bath
c) Standing (swaying with husband)
d) Sitting on the toilet
e) Dark room with or without music
f) Technique breathing
g) A combination of some of these
h) A different method

This is my first time attempting natural labor.  I'm 29 weeks pregnant and would love some advice from ladies who have labored naturally.



  1. I am usually the one who is quiet during this convo as I have had 3 c-sections...but my friends who had natural labors did best to mentally sort of center and prepare for the "work" ahead, and treat it as a marathon of sorts. Lots of positive thinking. Looking only at the goal. That sort of thing. I was in drug free labor for some time with my littlest one, and I think I could have done it. Really. Many good thoughts and prayers to you! God bless you and that special little one!

  2. I've given birth 3 times. The first time I didn't do anything except have a shot of stadol.

    My 2nd son was born an hour and 10 minutes after I got to the hospital. I showered and was miserable at home most of labor. The doctor did break my water and my labor went very fast after that.

    My 3rd I did a lot more at the hospital. I loved the birth ball, the whirlpool bath, and ice chips. :) I sat on the birth ball and toilet the most. My body always would clean out before delivery, though the nurses kept checking to make sure I wasn't delivering in the toilet. :) I sat on the birth ball until almost delivery time. It was my best birth experience. I didn't have a set plan, I just went with whatever I felt like doing in my labor-ridden state of mind. :) Enjoy the experience no matter what you do!

  3. combination of all and having a doula coaching me during labor, My husband hates seeing me in pain and therefore hold my hand and can't do nothing else! So for us having another women help me was a huge blessing!

  4. Well friend, you know most everything I have to say already, but I'll say it again! :) Consciously relaxing every part of your body, ie, going from head to toe in your head an un-tensing everything. You'll be surprised how much of your body is tense and you dont even realize it (eyebrows, stomach, fingers, jaw, toes etc). During a contraction just focus on that and breathing normally. Leaning over something always helps me, helps to let my stomach just HANG really loose. During hard labor I like the whirlpool tub. During transition I only like being on the toilet since I feel the most relaxed (no worrying about fluids all over the place, haha). The most important thing is just to take each contraction one at a time, dotn worry about the next one. Just breath normally and relax your muscles as much as possible. Remember that contractions are ALL muscular so if you tense up, they will be MUCH more intense (just like period cramps, hense taking a muscle relaxant). You can TOTALLY do it, so long as you go into it KNOWING you can. I always tell myself during a contraction, I can do ANYTHING for one minute. HUGS!

  5. I have delivered all four of my babies with absolutely NO medications once or ever. With the first three I took lamaze classes. When I was pregnant with my fourth my husband informed me that he REFUSED another lamaze class because we were quite qualified to TEACH the class! LOL!
    I learned quite a bit from those classes and they were extremely helpful in regards to trying different positions, getting a massage from hubby, apply warm heat for back labor, and the ever important FOCUS. Listen, it's gonna hurt. But, I find that if you can remain calm, focus on breathing~ I mean, seriously concentrate on each breath as you inhale to a count of four and exhale to a count of four, and visualize your baby moving down with the pressure, encouraging him/her, talking to your baby, knowing that this is exactly what you're supposed to be feeling, each contraction is one step closer to the end... it is bearable! Keep talking yourself through labor. Let your husband know that he needs to be an encouragement, letting you know that you're doing great, not much longer now, etc, etc. Also, rest between contractions. Handle ONE contraction at a time. You can get through it!
    I suggest NO visitors until after the baby is born! I even found my ob to be distracting and my contractions were harder to bear when he was in the room.
    I had the lights dimmed, and KennyG on the cd player. I suggest getting the cd now and practice breathing and relaxing in a dark room with the music. Let it be calming for you now so that it will take you back there when you're in labor.
    To be honest, in my opinion, it is mind over matter. I went into labor with out giving myself the option of an epidural. I was prepared mentally for the pain, I knew that countless women had done it before me and lived to tell the tale, and frankly, I was more afraid of the epidural than the pain.
    Natural childbirth was the right choice for me. I LOVED it. I felt strong and powerful. Not everyone does. And that's okay too.
    Best wishes to you! Praying for a beautiful birth experience with a healthy mom and baby to show for it!

  6. Standing for sure, although I am not sure if I was swaying :) I leaned on the back of a chair during contractions. The best thing a nurse said to me (as I was saying "I can't do this") was "You are doing it!". I thought wow, I am doing this. It was such an amazing experience. The best thing was having a birth plan and a husband who was strong enough to remind me of it.

  7. What Heather said. Plus being in the water. (I've had two natural births). Really what Heather said about relaxation is exactly how I learned it from Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way. That's an excellent book. Water always helped for me when it got to be "too much".

    Becky @

  8. I walked ... and walked ... and walked.... It seems like laying (lying?) down made things worse for me. I tried to labor as long as I could at home so I'd not be hooked up to stuff. Finally - at the hospital, I was "7" when we got there - and they did give me a shot of "stadol" to help me relax (guess that isn't completely "natural"!!!) - but then things went fast & I pushed & my baby boy was here before I knew it (after 20 hours of "labor" that sounds trite but it's true!!!). Blessings.

  9. As a certified doula, and a mother of almost 5, I highly recommend getting a doula. She can help you move from one position to the next until you find just what works for you, without you having to think about what you want to try.

    I had one client that just moved from birth ball, to bath, to bed, and never even made a peep.
    For myself, after 4 births and one coming up, I finally KNOW what absolutely works for me.
    Lavendar oil, during transition esp., calms the shakes and makes me relax. I just put a drop or two on my gown or a cotton ball and then I can bend my head down to sniff it when I want.
    Hip squeeze during transition! The most wonderful thing ever. This time I will be using a rebozo, becuase I have very intense, continuous contractions during transition, so I can tie a rebozo around my hips to do the squeezing for my doula. It takes my pain from a 10+ to almost a 0!!!

    It is not realistic to believe you can always consciously relax during transition, at the height of your contractions, so you will need some assistance in that time. Some can, but most cannot do it alone.

    The beginning of labor usually is just the birth ball and consciously relaxing everything.
    Dr. Bradley's book, The Husband Coached Childbirth is wonderful for helping you learn to relax, or anything about the Bradley method.
    And Penny Simkin, The Birth Partner, is a great tool for checking out different positions to labor in.
    But again, if you get a doula, she can help you adjust until you find what works. And if money is a problem, you can always look for one in in training (they are still wonderful) or ask, most doulas will work with you on a price you can afford.
    Good luck!

  10. You're getting lots of good tips. I would go to Doula and Midwife webpages and get more tips.
    I delivered 5 babies. I think relaxing sounds funny. But it's more of forcing yourself to let go and let your body do the work it needs too. The more you tense up, the more painful it gets. That's where deep breathing helps. you can breath and concentrat on letting go, like letting your muscles relax, let your bottom hang out. I found that my natural reaction with each contractions was to tuck my bottom in. Just let it all hang loose! You'll feel so much better. Blow into a balloon, you'll feel those muscles on the bottom that you need to loosen in labour. I actually didn't push with my last 3. I just pretended I was blowing up a balloon, I used my fist to make my balloon:)
    I did have some Fentinal with the last one, I delivered her transverse, I didn't push and no stitches!! :)

  11. Do what works for YOU! I gave birth naturally to my daughter but she came so fast I didn't have an option. I didn't prepare like you are doing so you are way ahead! You can do it!

  12. I just had baby number 7 at home 2 months ago. It was our 5th homeebirth and third waterbirth. I blogged about my preparations, scriptures for labor and birth story. I hope it will be a blessing! This is such an exciting time for you!

  13. I'm with Conny. Walk, walk, walk, until you can't walk anymore. Then hopped in the hot shower until push time! This helped with four natural births. And there is such a great feeling when it's over to be able to get right up and shower and freshen up and enjoy your baby!

  14. No help here. I had medication. But felt everything anyways. Lol. Lots of prayer :).


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