Coping with Labour – One Surge at a Time

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    How you approach labour can effect how you feel about your birth experience later on (is your glass half full or half empty!!) To cope well with your labour it’s important to really live ‘in the moment‘….take it one surge at a time…don’t focus on how many are to come..or how many you’ve had but just managing the one you’re having right this minute.

    It’s surprising to most women to learn that labour isn’t a continuous discomfort but that the contractions/surges come and go. So you get a break and some time to recharge your batteries in between contractions for most of your labour.

    When you break it down as in the following article it might give you a bit of extra confidence to keep going.

    Once you are in established labour, you will experience contractions that come with regularity. From the time a contraction begins until the time the next contraction begins will determine "how far apart" the contractions are.

    Lets look at this more carefully.

    Contractions are coming every 3 minutes and lasting for about 1 minute. This means that in 1 hour, you will experience contractions for 20 minutes, and will be resting for 40 minutes.

    A contraction has a "up" when it begins; a tightening. Then it has a "peak" where you feel it’s intensity, and then it goes "down" which is relaxing. About half of the contraction is "up" and about the other half is "down" with only a second or two at the peak. Only half (the first half) of your contraction will involve the "pain". The other half is relaxing.

    Since you can estimate 20 minutes of the hour is spent on contracting, only half of that time is spent on going "up". In other words, 10 minutes out of every hour.

    Declare your motto [size=150:1eedqu0p]"I can do anything for 1 minute"[/size:1eedqu0p]. The "up" of a contraction will almost always be less than 1 minute except maybe the final minutes before birth.

    By taking your contractions one at a time- and spending the remaining part of your labor relaxing, you will find that labour can be managed easily! Relaxing between contractions is key…some women even sleep between contractions. Let your entire body go loose and limp…this way you are conserving your energy.

    Some general guidelines to help assess and manage your contractions:

    Early labour
    Contractions coming 15 minutes apart lasting 25 seconds (12 seconds "up") 59 minutes of rest, discomfort felt for 1 minute per hour

    Contractions coming 10 minutes apart lasting 30 seconds (15 seconds "up") 57 ½ minutes of rest, discomfort felt for 1 ½ minute per hour

    Active labour
    Contractions coming 5 minutes apart lasting 45 seconds (23 seconds "up") 55 ½ minutes of rest, discomfort felt for 4 ½ minutes per hour

    Contractions coming 3 minutes apart lasting 60 seconds (30 seconds "up") 50 minutes of rest, discomfort felt for 10 minutes per hour

    Transition (some women don’t experience transition)
    Contractions coming 2 minutes apart lasting 90 seconds (45 seconds "up") 37 ½ minutes of rest, discomfort felt for 22 ½ minutes per hour….

    You’re on the home stretch now !!


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