Being able to relax during labor will allow your body to do all the hard work and bring your baby into the world with a peaceful environment. While you’re focusing on relaxing every part of your body and mind, you will have more energy for the marathon of birth, and it may allow your labor to progress quicker. Our midwives want you to be able to experience the birth of your dreams. Let’s cover some tips to help your dreams become a reality.
Create a Relaxing Environment
The first step to relaxing your body and mind is to set the mood. You can do this by dimming the lights, raising or lowering the temperature, playing music that you enjoy, and diffusing essential oils. Ask your partner, doula, or midwives for help creating the perfect labor environment.
Where you are can affect your comfortability, so make sure it is somewhere you can relax completely. Your comfort place could be your bedroom, the bath, or wherever you feel most comfortable. What matters is your ability to focus inward and allow yourself to relax.
You should pick a place where you don’t feel obligated to other tasks. You probably don’t want to be laboring in your bedroom with a laundry pile begging to be folded and put away. Just ask your partner to remove anything that may distract you.
Our midwives have perfectly curated the birth rooms to be a welcoming, peaceful environment. They pay close attention to even the smallest details to help you feel comfortable. So whether you are planning a home birth, or utilizing our birth rooms you will feel right at home. Our midwives can help you create the perfect birth plan so you can have the birth of your dreams.
Now that you have created a welcoming environment, it’s time to get comfortable. Think about what you are wearing. Are your clothes too restricting? Would you prefer a flowy nightgown? Don’t be afraid to get fully nude if that’s what would be most comfortable for you.
Next, think about what you are laying or sitting on. Would you like more pillows? Would you like to get under a soft, warm blanket? Are you able to get into a comfortable position? Try out different positions and ask your partner to rub your back if you are experiencing back pain.
Take the time to eat a light meal while you are in early labor. You will need the energy for later. Soups and salads are great for replenishing your nutrients without feeling too full.
Get As Much Rest As Possible
Labor can be exciting during the early stages. You have been anticipating this moment for nine months and you may feel like you need to do something to help speed things along but what will really help is getting rest and sleep.
Labor can take a long time, especially if it is your first birth. Sleep will help restore your energy and take a more proactive approach to labor. It is much easier to rest early on rather than later when you’re in the throes of labor. You will have an easier time relaxing after you have slept.
If you are not able to sleep for any reason, just rest on your bed or couch with your eyes closed. Allow your mind to wander. You can ask your partner to brush your hair, or gently stroke your arms with their fingertips.
Think Positive Thoughts
Positive affirmations, meditation, and visualization are all great mental coping skills to help you relax. Practice these in the weeks or months prior to your expected due date so you will have an easier time staying “in the zone.” You can use a mixture of these coping strategies, or employ just one. Whatever works best for you!
Positive affirmations can be highly motivating during labor. Use them to keep your confidence and strength up. You can say them out loud, in your head, or ask your partner or doula to repeat them to you when you need a little pick-me-up. Here are some examples you can use, or you can come up with your own:
- “My body and my baby are capable.”
- “Every contraction brings me one step closer to meeting my baby.”
- “I trust my body and my instincts.”
- “This is only temporary and will not last forever.”
- “I am strong.”
Focusing in and letting yourself feel everything that is going on may be incredibly helpful. You acknowledge your contractions, but you don’t register what you are feeling as pain, it is simply a muscle contracting. You allow your body to do the work necessary to bring your baby earthside without creating tension elsewhere. If you become distracted from your breathing, don’t worry. Just redirect your attention and continue working towards breathing your baby down.
It may help to moan through your contractions. Let it be a deep, guttural moan. Your loosened jaw will help open your cervix and relax your pelvic floor muscles.
Visualizing your baby coming down the birth canal is a great way to keep your labor a positive experience. Here are a couple visualization scenarios that you can use or you can create your own happy place –
- Imagine every contraction is a wave, and you are a boat. With each wave that comes, you float through, going higher and higher. Then as you reach the peak of your contraction, you begin your descent to rest until the next wave comes. The waves do not crash over you. You are buoyant. You are strong. Just keep riding the waves and regaining your strength and energy in between.
- If it helps to visualize a more realistic image, picture your baby in the womb, gently being pushed down by your uterus. As your uterus contracts, it squeezes down on your baby, bringing them a little bit closer to birth. Your baby makes their way down your spine, into the pelvis. They may even push off the uterus with their feet during contractions to help make their way into the world. When your baby begins to crown, reach down and feel their head if you would like!
It’s important to change positions during labor every 30 minutes or so to help keep labor progressing and encourage your baby to descend into the birth canal. Find a position that is comfortable for you.
- Side lying – Climb into bed and lay on your side, your left side is preferable. Surround yourself with as many pillows as possible to get extra cozy. You can place a pillow or two between your legs or ask your partner or midwife to hold up your top leg in an elevated position.
- Squatting – To help get into a squatting position, you can use the back of a chair for support, or ask your partner to support you from behind while you squat down.
- Use a birth ball – You can sit on the birth ball and do pelvic tilts to help rock your baby down. Or you can lean your head and chest over the ball, with your knees on the ground, and gently rock from side to side. This will help get your baby in position for birth. Just be sure to place a towel or blanket over the ball before putting your head on it.
- Sway with partner support – Stand face-to-face with your partner. When you feel a contraction coming on, wrap your arms over your partner’s neck, rest your head onto their chest, put all of your weight into them and sway back and forth, rocking your baby down. If needed, our midwives can assist by applying counter pressure onto the lower back to help alleviate back pain.
How Your Partner Can Help
During labor, your partner’s most important job is to be your voice. They should know your birth plan like the back of their hand. Your partner should be able to communicate your wants and needs to the midwives. They are your number one advocate.
They should be there to give you water, bring you snacks, rub your back, or apply counter pressure during contractions. They will pack everything you would like to bring to the birth center. They should also watch for any tension in your body and gently pat that area to remind you to consciously relax.
Let them raise your confidence when you experience self doubt. Labor and delivery can be a very intimate experience because of your partner’s role in taking care of you and supporting you.
Hop in the Tub
Showering or soaking in a tub while laboring can be a very powerful tool in helping to relax. It can be so relaxing, in fact, that it has been dubbed the “aquadural.” You may feel weightless while in the tub, or have some pressure taken off of your belly.
The warm water helps give your baby a smooth transition from womb to world and may even help prevent perineal tearing. Usually, babies born in the water are more alert and calm after birth. You are able to connect with your new baby in the tub while you work to deliver the placenta. After the placenta has been delivered, you can rest on the bed while you admire your baby.
Contact us today to discuss and create the birth of your dreams.