Jun 22

Through teaching antenatal classes I find that there is so much information to take in that it is hard to really take away a guide that will work for you.

 

Having a plan or a guide for when you begin labour will give you confidence in your self and your body. 

 

Through attending and managing over a hundred births, teaching many, many couples and my own personal experience I find that there are 3 key points that empower you to have an amazing natural birth.

 

  1. Write a goal and read it every day
  2. Do 15mins of stretching or yoga or just relax with calming music each day
  3. Practice deep breathing for relaxation

 

1.  Write a Goal

 

This is the first step you need to take.  Many women have a plan, however, they have not actually thought about exactly how their outcome will look.  The key word here is outcome, you can decide how you want your birth to end.  I know you are saying that it ends with a baby, but will you be relaxed, without stitches, and excited.  When writing a goal you must commit it to paper, this makes it real in your subconscious mind.  It is best to write the goal as if it has already happened, for example:

 

“It is now (insert your due date) and I am so happy and grateful that my birth was easy and short or (insert your descriptive desires).  I am amazed at my beautiful, soft baby lying on my chest looking up at me.  My baby feels warm under my arms.  I look into my partners eyes and see the tears of joy as he looks at our beautiful baby”

 

You can put what you want in your goal, all you need to do is put lots of positive emotions and use all your senses.  The more life like you make your goal the more you can see the picture in your mind.  Your body and mind will then go after this picture and your goal will become a reality.

 

You need to now put your goal around your house so you read it every day. Smile when you read it and enjoy the feelings it will bring.  Think of your goal when you hear stories that don’t reflect your positive attitude and this will help you to stay positive and stay on your path to your birth, your goal and your amazing experience.

 

 

2.  Stretching, Yoga and Relaxation

 

Spend 15mins everyday stretching, practicing yoga or just relaxing listening to calming music.  This will allow your mind to become still for a short time everyday.  It will give you more energy and time to reflect on your goal.

 

Stretching and yoga are great ways to keep your body supple during pregnancy and prepare yourself for your birth.  You only need to do this for a short time, just incorporate it into your daily routine.  As a bonus with my Natural Birthing book a Personal

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Trainer has described specific stretches and exercises that can be safely practiced during pregnancy.  They are fantastic as the book is easy to read with pictures for you to follow.  You can find out more about this bonus here.

 

It is important to take this time for yourself each day to prepare your mind and body for your birth.  Envision your goal during this relaxed time and reflect on positive aspects of your body, your baby and your birth.

 

 

3.  Deep Breathing

 

During periods of pain in your life, our first instinct is to tense up.  For example when you stub your toe you immediately tense up and hold your foot.  This is instinct, therefore when contractions start, your first instinct will be to tense up and become stressed with pain. 

 

For your natural pain relieving hormones, endorphins, to work you need to be relaxed and calm.  If you practice deep breathing and remaining calm with any form of pain during your pregnancy this will give you practice.  For example, Braxton hicks contractions, back pain, or unrelated pain.  Concentrate on breathing deeply in and as you breathe out concentrate on relaxing your entire body, just go limp.

 

Doing this during contractions will allow your body to relieve the pain by accessing your body’s own natural pain relieving hormone, endorphin.  Endorphins are so much more stronger than any opiate given to you, so why not enhance this during your birth!!

 

Jun 7

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Natural Induction is a word that is typed into Google many, many times a day.  Women are keen to have their baby on or before their due date and are trying to avoid a medical induction.  Women know that medical induction leads to a cascade of intervention and possibly culminating in a cesarean section.

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got pregnant to get my ex byfriend back pan style=”font-size: small;”>So, as a midwife of 10 years, I thought I would discuss a few sure fire points that are gentle but very effective in getting labour started.  But you must wonder why we actually go over our due date and what actually starts labour.  What we do know is that it is probably a combination of mother and baby that starts labour, so having both in top condition is imperative. I have a few theories on why women go over due and they are listed below.  I have narrowed it down to 3 points, these are: 

  1. Posterior positioned baby – this is where you baby’s back is in line with your back and is not fitting well into the pelvis.  This creates uneven pressure on the cervix and can delay labour or start and stop labour over several days.
  2. Stress – women can become stressed as their due date comes and goes, this stress can pass over to the baby and delay birth.
  3. Wrong dates – some women are not sure when their last period was and had to rely on ultrasound for a due date.  Ultrasound is pretty accurate in giving a due date, however, only if the scan is done early. 

 

Now we know a few reasons why labour may not start, we can look into ways that will naturally start labour.  I have narrowed down to three important techniques that I have seen work for women over and over again.  Before you delve into the world of Natural Induction it is important to discuss this with your health care professional all your options and make sure you and your baby are both doing well.

 

  1. Getting your heart rate up
  2. Intercourse
  3. Helping baby into the correct position 

 

First up, getting your heart rate up.  The easiest way to do this is go for a walk, take your partner with you for support and you can chat about your birth while exercising.  Most women will find that a good brisk walk will increase the

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heart rate, no need to exert yourself. 

 

While you are out walking a great way to help your baby into a nice tucked in position, which will in turn fit easily into your pelvis, is to walk with one foot up on the gutter and the other on the road.  Then turn around to the other side of the road and walk with the other foot on the gutter.  Doing this will change the dimensions in your pelvis and allow your baby to negotiate the birth canal with ease. 

 

Secondly, having sex can firstly relax you and give your body time to forget about labour, which may in turn put you into labour.  Also semen carries prostaglandin which can soften and ripen the cervix ready for labour.  Now, this may sound ridiculous but it can work.  After sex lie with your legs up the wall, this will allow the semen to sit on your cervix and soften it, ready for labour.  This may not work, but it can’t hurt!!  Have fun with it, have a laugh, this may also relax you and put you into labour! 

 

Another great part of sex is when a woman experiences orgasm, she produces oxytocin – the labour hormone. So while having intercourse seems to not be of much help, it can still play a role in the bigger scheme of things!  To enhance sex and natural induction you can try nipple stimulation.  Nipple stimulation will release oxytocin in your blood and hopefully induce labour.  You can use your hand and fingers to do this or get your partner to have a go, I am sure this will be an added bonus for them!!

 

Position, position, position, isn’t this what they say in real estate?  This is so true of pregnant women as well.  Now I don’t want to compare women to real estate, however it may make you remember this point.  As I mentioned above when your baby is in the posterior position (spine to spine) then it is more likely that you will go over due or your labour may stop and start.  To help your baby into the right position it is important to adopt positions where your belly is hanging forwards, this will encourage your baby’s spine to swing forwards and rest in a great position, with your baby’s chin tucked in.  Below is a list of positions that you can practice each day.

  • Sitting forward on a chair with your legs apart and your belly hanging between your legs
  • Sit on a chair the wrong way, turn a dining chair around and straddle it, resting your arms on the back of the chair
  • Crawl around on your hands and knees.  Play with your other children or maybe spot mop the floor!  You don’t need to do this for very long
  • Sit on your knees and place a bean bag in front of you, lean over the bean bag and your tummy will hang forward cushioned by the beans

 

To recap, Natural Induction can be a rocky road, however, through my experience as midwife and a mother of an over due baby, I have narrowed down the list of possible ways to naturally induce labour.  These are; getting your heart rate through walking or even sex!  Which leads me to my next point, sex; this can relax you, release oxytocin through orgasm and nipple stimulation and soften your cervix.  My final point is position, start crawling around on your hands and knees and keep your belly hanging!

 

I hope this helps, I know it is much better than castor oil and a lot more fun.  Give them all a go and see where they take you.  If you love the idea of natural induction and also natural childbirth, then jump over to my website, Child Birth Options, and see some more great ways to naturally induce your labour and help you achieve an amazing natural birth. 

 

Jun 2

Your pelvis holds your uterus in place with long stretchy tendons it also supports this uterus and your baby.  Your pelvic floor muscles are attached to it and it loosens with pregnancy to allow your baby to pass through.  What an amazing part of your anatomy!

 

So why am I discussing this?  Well if you understand your pelvis you can enhance its abilities during labour and achieve a wonderful Natural Birth

 

A hormone called relaxin is released during pregnancy, this affects your joints, blood vessels, pelvis and many others systems.  In regards to your pelvis, it loosens allowing your uterus and your baby to fit comfortably and make a wide enough path for your birth.

 

So what can you do to create an easier birth for yourself and your baby?  It is all

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about positioning your body to create more room.  If you look at the diagram below you will see that

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it has a circular opening.  All women have a different shaped pelvic opening; however, all women can increase the size of this opening to allow their baby to smoothly fit through.  See the diagram below.

 

                                                     

Your sacrum is really the key, this is the end of your spine, see diagram above.  It curves under and is able to move and create a larger opening for your baby.  The best position to maximise the diameter of the pelvic outlet is leaning over.  For example if you are standing you could lean over and rest your head on your arms over a bed, bench or chair.  It just has to be an object that is higher than your pelvis.  This will allow your sacrum to flare out and widen your pelvic outlet.

 

You can use this position while you are in labour and move your hips around in a circular motion to relieve discomfort.  Also, your lower back can be massaged easily to help you relax. 

 

If you can increase the size of your pelvic outlet by leaning over and allowing your sacrum to flare out then conversely, if you lay on your back you will stop this from happening.  In fact, you will reduce your pelvic outlet by 28%!  As well as this, if you lie on your back, you will not have the use of gravity to help with the downward motion of birth.  By standing or kneeling while leaning over you will allow gravity to help guide your baby out.

 

Lets face it….any way we can work with our bodies to have a fast, amazing birth is something that is worth practicing and using during your birth.  So, to recap, the best position to labour and birth in is: 

 

  • Upright position – to use gravity to help you
  • Leaning over allowing your sacrum to flare out
  • Kneeling whilst leaning over, keeping your upper body above your pelvis 

 

Using positions, gravity and your body during pregnancy and birth will greatly enhance your birthing experience and empower you to birth with confidence.  To learn more on positions for birth have a read of my other articles on my blog and create a birthing journey that will transform your life.