5 Secrets to Pain Free Childbirth
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Painfree birth?...without meds!? Is that even possible??? YES!
Our culture has deemed birth to the most painful thing that can possibly happen to you. Movies show women in labor screaming and yelling. Can birth be extremely painful? Yes, absolutely. Does it have to be? No. Even if you do everything "perfect" and follow all of these suggestions, you may still have a painful birth. There are so many variables like baby's positioning, medications, previous trauma, etc that can impact things. I can however say with confidence that if you do these 5 things, you will have a more comfortable birthing experience.
1. Weekly Prenatal Chiropractic Care
Seeing a chiropractor that specializes in the Webster Technique can be a huge contributor to reducing pain in childbirth. When your pelvis is in proper alignment with a symmetrical opening, it makes it much easier for baby to be in the ideal position for birth and easier for baby to maneuver through your pelvis. That means your body will have less resistance to doing the work it needs to do to get baby out, and lower your chance of dystocia, breech, c-section, etc.
Chiropractic care can also help with all sorts of aches and pains during pregnancy. It helped me a lot with managing severe pain from Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD).
2. Take a Prenatal Yoga Class
A recent study showed that women who did prenatal yoga when compared to the control group that did not do prenatal yoga saw the following benefits:
Less intense pain
Lower percentage of C-sections
Shorter 2nd and 3rd stages of labor
Yoga is also great for teaching proper breathing. In yoga you often hear instructors telling you to breathe into specific areas of the body. When you hold an uncomfortable position for a minute or two and breathe into it, you relax your muscles and get deeper into the pose. Yoga teaches you to quiet your mind and surrender into what your body is asking you to do. This translates amazingly well into breathing through contractions and relaxing into it instead of tensing and fighting it. When you surrender and soften your body, you release tension, and tension=pain.
3. Hypnosis Based Birth Education Classes: Hypnobabies or Hypnobirthing
Hypnosis for birth is amazing. The mind is powerful and you can actually trick your mind into perceiving the sensations you are experiencing as intensity instead of pain for a more comfortable birth. I did Hypnobirthing and had a 95% pain free unmedicated delivery! (Read that birth story here). The only part I described as painful was the car ride to the birth center which was distracting enough to get me out of my self hypnosis relaxed state temporarily.
Hypnobabies teaches a method of “eyes-open childbirth hypnosis” that allows mom to easily remain deeply in true hypnosis while walking, talking and changing positions. It helps women create a shorter, easier and more comfortable labor.
Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method focuses on eliminating fear of childbirth. It's a program of self-hypnosis, relaxation, and education where women "learn to dismiss fear-based stories, misinformation, and birthing myths; and they are helped to see birth as normal. They learn to trust that their bodies know how to bring their babies into the world in the calm and gentle way that Nature intended."
Hypnobirthing was a better fit for me than Hypnobabies, but look into both to see what resonates more for you. Hypnobabies also has a home study option, which is great if there are no trained instructors near you.
4. Hire a Birth Doula
Hire a birth doula. Trust me, just do it.
According to Evidence- Based Birth, these are the benefits of hiring a Birth Doula to provide continuous support in labor:
Decreased risk of Cesarean
Less need for use of medications for pain relief
Lower risk of a low five minute Apgar score
Increased satisfaction in your birth experience
Higher chance of a successful spontaneous vaginal birth
May shorten labor
Decrease the use of Pitocin (Pitocin is a drug used to induce labor and can drastically increase the pain of contractions)
5. Believe that it is possible
This is probably the most important. If you do everything I listed above but don't believe it is possible to have a pain free birth, you won't have one. My mom (a doula and birth educator) says that birth is 90% neck up and I definitely agree with her. Your mind is the most powerful tool you have in labor.
If you can use education about birth to reduce your fears and tension, a supportive environment (doula) to help you stay focused and positive, and are physically well prepared (yoga and chiropractic) you WILL have a less painful birth. For some of you it may even be 100% pain free.
Pain free sounds amazing but is not the ultimate end goal.
My wish for you is to have a birth experience where you are respected, supported, and empowered to make decisions that work for you and your family.
Incorporating these tips into your preparation while pregnant will help reach THAT goal AND give you a more comfortable birthing experience. It may even give you one that is 100% pain free.