Tips to Help You Avoid Arriving at the Hospital Too Early

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    Your bags are packed and sitting in the hall…….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, you’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 wind….

    First labours are such a unique experience and even after reading every pregnancy book on the planet you’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 ‘undisturbed birth’.

    This labour ‘recipe’ 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 – don’t text everyone that your labour has started. You’ll be plagued by well meaning friends and family….and you start to suffer from a kind of labour performance anxiety….you start to think that you’re taking too long….(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 ‘thinking’ 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 – both mentally and physically. Despite what you might have read walking for Ireland when you’re in early labour is unhelpful – UNLESS you feel it’s helping you. Don’t walk because someone told you to or because you read it in a book. High activity inhibits your helper hormones and boosts adrenaline….plus you want to conserve as much energy as you can….rest rest rest..

    I know it’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 ewwwwww’s as you read this….. But if you look at it logically it’s the same perfect cascade of hormones that resulted in most mums becoming pregnant…and it’s the same cascade of hormones that helps your baby to be born.

    Just look back at the 5 points above….feeling safe….uninhibited…..unobserved….dim lighting…and not much conversation…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 I’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 Dad’s sexy hypnotic voice has a role to play in getting your baby out (after all Dad’s sexy hypnotic voice helped get the baby there in the first place) :wink:

    Have a labour project that requires low mental and physical activity….think romance !!

    Rent a few funny DVDs – laughter creates endorphins – your labour helpers !!

    Bake a birthday cake for your baby

    DP can run you a warm bath….and light the candles…..

    DP can cook you some nice food….and encourage you to stay hydrated

    DP can give you a relaxing massage…or foot rub…

    DP can tell you how beautiful you look

    DP can put on some nice music – 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 it’s time to go…..

    Now print this out and make sure DP reads it !! He probably hasn’t read all those highlighted pages you’ve prepared for him just yet and probably won’t. His eyes may move across the pages but his mind is most likely on the Championship league….

    Wishing you a wonderful birth



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