Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Easy Labor Without Medication

By Misti Sandefur

Many new mommies want to experience a natural labor without the drugs, because they want to be more alert as to what is going on around them. I am the mother of three, and I told myself that my labor would never involve drugs. I keep my word for my first two, but when my last baby was born I did finally ask for some "drugs," and I got them too. I did know what was going on around me, but I felt hardly any pain at all, and there were times when I drifted off to sleep for a brief moment, then, once my baby boy was born, I can remember holding him in my arms then handing him back to the doctor. I handed him back because the medicine they had given to me caused me to be very drowsy and I did not want to drop my newborn baby.

All three of my pregnancies were quick -- the longest and first was six hours -- and the other two was one hour and two hours. Even though I asked for "drugs" the last time, I did not have any at all with my first two children; the last child was a bit more painful than the first two, and he came a little earlier. I was, however, in all three cases, able to make my labor easier.

Today, I am going to share with you a few things you can do to prepare for and make your labor easier. Please, do not think these methods will make your labor totally pain-free, because they will not -- labor is very painful -- but I hope that the following methods will make your labor less painful and quicker.

Walking

Walking while in labor helps things progress quicker. Once I arrived at the hospital with my first pregnancy, the nurses suggested I walk up and down the halls. They told me it would help make my labor easier, and as I already mentioned, they said it would help move things along too. They were right, it made my labor easier, and not long after I got back into bed I had dilated more and my contractions came much faster.

Aerobic Exercise

During pregnancy, you may want to consider learning a few aerobic exercises. Video tapes, books or even classes can teach you some aerobic exercises that are safe for pregnant women. In addition, you can check with your doctor to see what he or she recommends.

Aerobic exercises will reduce the stress you will encounter during pregnancy, help you stay fit, and, when the time comes, they may make for a shorter and less painful labor. Some aerobic exercises you can try are swimming, walking or pedaling on a stationary bike. Do not engage in any type of exercises that are strenuous, require you to lift, or exercises that would cause you to lose your balance and fall.

Changing Positions

While in labor, change positions until you reach a position that is comfortable for you. Many women prefer to be in a sitting position, because they say it is much easier since the gravity helps by pulling things down. For me, I tried many different positions, and the one I found to be the most comfortable was sitting up slightly in the bed. While lying on my back, I grabbed a hold of my knees (slightly bent) with my hands and pulled myself up when it came time to push, but every woman is different, so do what is most comfortable for you.

Bathing

At some stage in labor, consider taking a shower. A shower will provide relaxation and may ease the pain. However, if your water has already broken, check with your doctor before taking a shower.

Meditation

When your contractions start getting closer, and the pain becomes unbearable, you can try meditating. Meditation is a process used to slow and control your breathing. Because your mind focuses on controlling your breathing, it can help relieve your pain.

Support

Having your partner by your side will aid in making the entire labor process easy for you. In addition, depending on the hospital's policy, other family and friends being there for support can help as well.

When I had my first child my now ex-husband, mom, best friend and mother-in-law were all in the room during my labor, and even when the baby was born. They all took turns wiping my head with a cool rag, breathing with me, walking the halls with me, and they talked to me. Their support, the friendly nurses, and my doctor (he had a sense of humor) made the experience worthwhile.

Music

If you want to focus your mind on something other than the pain, try listening to soothing music. Moreover, once the baby is born, the song playing at the time will remain a memory forever.

All the above is advice. I am not a doctor, midwife or professional, I am just a mother who has been there three times, so you should ALWAYS check with your doctor before utilizing any of the advice given above.

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