We're excited to share this post from our partners at BabyCenter! Every week, we will be bringing you the best parenting and lifestyle stories from the experts at BabyCenter, including this post from Nancy Johnson Horn about tips for easing labor pain.
I remember going into labor over 6 years ago with my first child. When my water broke 11 days early I couldn’t remember a thing, other than "pick a focus point on the wall" and breathe.
But there’s more you can do to make labor go a little smoother. Recently, I spoke to Hope Garland, an Affiliated Bradley Instructor, www.blossombirth.net, who recommended these amazing tips. So, if you’re weeks or days away from childbirth — don’t panic, just print out (or bookmark it on your smartphone) this post so you can reference it when you go into labor.
- Pack in the protein: If you were about to run a long marathon, would you eat only ice chips? No. You need to eat a protein-rich meal. It will give you the stamina needed for labor (plus many hospitals won’t let you eat once you check in anyway). Make a plan to either keep something in the fridge/freezer/cupboard or know where you can go to get your marathon meal.
- Don’t fight gravity: Remain upright as long as possible. Walk around or sit up, but don’t lie on your back. (Yes, that’s really me in the pic, before I found out I should be walking around.)
- Hydrate thyself: Pack (and use) a water bottle. If you properly hydrate yourself during labor, you’ll increase your energy output by as much as 30%. Also, if you can keep drinking water, you may not need an IV that will really restrict your mobility. That’s when the ice chips and clear liquids can also help.
- Breathe using your abdomen: Normal abdominal breathing increases relaxation, which you’re really going to need. Chest and patterned breathing may fool your body into stress mode, and you don’t want that.
- Take a virtual chill pill: You’ve got to stay relaxed. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. If music helps, bring a preloaded playlist on your iPod, locate a focal point in the room and breathe. Banish as much negative energy as possible. While it’s not easy, stay as relaxed as you can through contractions – it will let your body do what it’s supposed to do.
- Move around during labor: There are a variety of positions for labor. Try to change positions so you’re not in one place for too long. Speak to the nurse about how you can be monitored and still move around. Bring slippers for those lovely grippy hospital socks so you can walk the halls.
- Make sure you have support and loving encouragement: Having your husband, partner, or trained birth partner can make a big difference. That support will do more for you than any amount of medication!
Do you have any tips to make labor a little easier? What did or didn’t work for you?
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Source: Flickr User bradleygee