March 8, 2008 at 6:12 pm #2289TracyDoneganMember
Your bags are packed and sitting in the hallâ€¦….the floors are gleaming and everything is ready. The stack of well read pregnancy books sit on the kitchen table with highlighted sections for your partner. After lots of research and stories from friends, youâ€™re determined not to be one of those women who panic at the first strange tightening sensation of labour and race off to the hospital only to find out to their mortification that it was just windâ€¦.
First labours are such a unique experience and even after reading every pregnancy book on the planet youâ€™re still not quite sure what to expect. Thankfully there is quite a lot you and your partner can do together at home to make this time at home before you go into the hospital memorable and comfortable. Dr. Michel Odent, the French obstetrician who pioneered the birth pool has some suggestions for creating the conditions for a shorter easier labour and what he refers to an â€˜undisturbed birthâ€™.
This labour â€˜recipeâ€™ has a few key ingredients that will help create that fantastic cocktail of hormones that helps your labour progress.
1. You need to feel safe and uninhibited. If mum feels stressed and anxious her body releases adrenaline which are the brakes of labour. When mum feels safe and not afraid her body produces oxytocin and endorphins – these are labour helpers ! When you feel uninhibited you can easily slip into that primal part of your mind that regulates labour.
2. You need to feel unobserved â€“ donâ€™t text everyone that your labour has started. Youâ€™ll be plagued by well meaning friends and familyâ€¦.and you start to suffer from a kind of labour performance anxietyâ€¦.you start to think that youâ€™re taking too longâ€¦.(here comes the adrenaline again !!)
3. Dim lighting. Get your candles out and hit the dimmer switch. Bright fluorescent lighting inhibits the hormonal release by stimulating your â€˜thinkingâ€™ brain.
4. Excessive conversation also keeps you in your reasoning and analytical part of your mind so rest is important and those relaxation CDs.
5. Low activity â€“ both mentally and physically. Despite what you might have read walking for Ireland when youâ€™re in early labour is unhelpful â€“ UNLESS you feel itâ€™s helping you. Donâ€™t walk because someone told you to or because you read it in a book. High activity inhibits your helper hormones and boosts adrenalineâ€¦.plus you want to conserve as much energy as you canâ€¦.rest rest rest..
I know itâ€™s a bit of a stretch for first time mums and dads to associate labour with romance so bear with me. I can already hear the ewwwwwwâ€™s as you read thisâ€¦.. But if you look at it logically itâ€™s the same perfect cascade of hormones that resulted in most mums becoming pregnantâ€¦and itâ€™s the same cascade of hormones that helps your baby to be born.
Just look back at the 5 points aboveâ€¦.feeling safeâ€¦.uninhibitedâ€¦..unobservedâ€¦.dim lightingâ€¦and not much conversationâ€¦it might remind you of when you were dating your partner and the things you did to create a romantic atmosphere and get in the mood You see where Iâ€™m going ? The more intimate and yes romantic the environment you can create at home the more likely your labour is to progress quicker and easier.
Even Dadâ€™s sexy hypnotic voice has a role to play in getting your baby out (after all Dadâ€™s sexy hypnotic voice helped get the baby there in the first place)
Have a labour project that requires low mental and physical activityâ€¦.think romance !!
Rent a few funny DVDs â€“ laughter creates endorphins – your labour helpers !!
Bake a birthday cake for your baby
DP can run you a warm bathâ€¦.and light the candlesâ€¦..
DP can cook you some nice foodâ€¦.and encourage you to stay hydrated
DP can give you a relaxing massageâ€¦or foot rubâ€¦
DP can tell you how beautiful you look
DP can put on some nice music â€“ any slow easy listening music that has good memories for you
DP can put on your relaxation CDs and maybe read some of the scripts to you to deepen your relaxation.
DP can make sure there is petrol in the car and not panic when itâ€™s time to goâ€¦..
Now print this out and make sure DP reads it !! He probably hasnâ€™t read all those highlighted pages youâ€™ve prepared for him just yet and probably wonâ€™t. His eyes may move across the pages but his mind is most likely on the Championship leagueâ€¦.
Wishing you a wonderful birth
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