I see time and time again in the Facebook groups I’m part of, women asking for people’s top tips for labour. Many of these women are in early labour and reaching out for advice and support for this big adventure that has just begun.
I often respond to these posts with my ideas and it’s validating to see that my comment often gets a huge amount of likes and other comments.
I’ve had numerous women say they are screen shotting my response so they can look back on it when they too are in labour.
Do I know it all? Of course not! But hopefully there are some little gems here to help you.
This is the time to set the scene. Get those absolute basics off to a good start and you’ll be so prepared for when things step up a notch. By creating an ideal birth environment, you will allow your birthing hormones to be produced in far greater quantities than if you were out in public or surrounded by people.
- Go home! If you are out, shopping, lunching, whatever it may be, go home! Your hormones won’t be released properly until you feel safe and private eg. your home, not Coles.
- Get your sanctuary ready!! What does this mean?
- Close the curtains
- Crank up the heater
- Get the air smelling sensational with oils, candles or incense
- Get your sounds happening – music, relaxation tracks, a funny or romantic movie
- Get the vibe working – cuddle up with your partner or by yourself under a snuggly blanket, have a warm bath
- Connect with your little bubba! How can you do this?
- Talk to them! Tell them how excited you are. Tell them you can’t wait to meet them. Explain how loved and wanted they are. Remind them of the incredible birth experience you are about to have together – that you will work through this as a team.
- Lie down/rest for long as possible before you want to get up and move.
Labour Picks Up
When things pick up a little, but before they really intensify, this is the perfect time to communicate with your birth partner what’s working for you and what isn’t. Ideally, as labour progresses further, you don’t talk or think too much.
- While your neo-cortex is still somewhat engaged, give some feedback to your birth partner about what’s going on with you.
- What positions are feeling good?
- What do you need from them? Space? Touch? Words?
- What techniques are you rocking? Massage, acupressure, hypnosis?
- What visualisations do you keep coming back to?
- Where’s your head at? Positive, confident or are some little niggles of doubt creeping in?
Give your partner a chance to help, support and reframe as best they can before that neo-cortex steps out of the picture.
Woohoo woman, this is happening now! Now it’s time for you to dig deep, deeper than ever before and rock your birth.
- Surrender – I cannot emphasise this enough. Your mindset needs to be on track here. Tell yourself whatever you need to, to stay positive, eg,
- This is normal
- I am safe
- Women all over the world are birthing with me
- I can do this
- I am strong
- I can do anything for one minute
- Visualise – what a wonderful, underrated tool visualisations are! If you’ve done my HypnoBirthing course, you’ll have a range to draw on at this stage of labour
- Relax – use that time in-between surges to totally and utterly relax. This helps with energy levels and keeping you and baby well oxygenated and calm. Again, if you’ve done my course, you’ll have lots of options here.
- Stay upright, as this stage continues you’ll be less likely to want to move and we don’t want you to end up on your back.
Baby Is Coming!!
That sweet bubba is on their way to your arms! By now, that *natural expulsive reflex has kicked in and things have shifted (*if you’ve had interventions or an epidural, you may not get this reflex). Many women feel more purposeful in this stage as they realise bubs is moving down the birth path.
When baby crowns, many women want to hold back here. It can vary in sensation for all women from 100% pain free to that ‘ring of fire’ description we hear about. I’ve had one of each so go figure!
- Calm Breathing for as long as possible – only moving into the Birth Breath when it’s not possible to resist any longer.
- Keep up the visualisations and talk to your baby too! I said the word ‘love’ to my daughter but come, down, open and release would work too.
- Listen to yourself – this mean push if you want to push for how long you want to. Bear down, nudge or do nothing. All studies point to women who do mother-directed pushing, rather than coached/forced pushing, have better outcomes for their perineum.
- As baby is crowning, as odd as it sounds, my recommendation is to touch/hold yourself. Ina May Gaskin talks about this and if you can increase blood flow to the area, tearing is less likely, plus it might just make you feel good!
- Another Ina May Gaskin tip is to tell yourself that you are ‘going to get huge’. Rather than tense up, release and open and think about that vulva getting massive.
Baby Has Arrived!
OMG, you have a baby! Now what…. I think the thing to remember here is what a journey this has been for your baby as well as you and how different their new world is. Try to keep things as quiet, dark and calm as possible for them as they adjust.
- Get that sweet, slimy baby on your body – your tummy or chest is ideal.
- Take a moment to let it all sink in – holy moly, a baby just exited your body!
- Get all your clothes off if they aren’t off already. Skin to skin is so important for lots of reasons.
- Give your baby an opportunity to do the breast crawl. This is so amazing and so good for your baby’s brain development (your baby may not be able to do this if affected by pain relief).
- Lots of eye contact and soft, gentle talking.
- Delay baby exams for an hour or two while you bond.
- Remember that if you don’t feel bombarded with crazy love fireworks, that that is a really normal reaction and the love will come.
So that’s it mama! My absolute top tips for labour and bonding.
If you have any questions about HypnoBirthing or just pregnancy and birth in general, you can set a time for an obligation free discovery call. Just click here http://hypnobirthingvictoria.setmore.com to make a suitable time.