Using simple physical comfort measures during labor may reduce stress and make things a bit more calmer! Labor is scary and crazy and exciting and can be painful, there are many things YOU can do during labor and things your PARTNER or support person can do during labor to help you.
BREATHE. BREATHE. BREATHE.
You will surprise yourself on how calm you can become and how well you can manage pain when you control your breathing. But by adding extra little helpful tools can go a long way and make it a smoother process.
DISTRACTION IS KEY. That is the number one thing I tell EVERYONE who is having a baby. That is why having a Doula or support person helps the process go SO much smoother. DISTRACTION, Baby. [no pun intended] It is everything! We do our best to keep your mind clear and focused and sometimes we just talk and laugh and engage in conversation especially during the early parts of labor, to distract you and help you push through. Now during later parts of labor when things are WAY more intense we don't really talk much but there are other comfort measures you can implement to make it easier!
1. Create an atmosphere that encourages self- comfort. Lighting. Your own pillows and blanket. Your own music. THINGS that bring YOU comfort. So even though I had a c section I brought my OWN blanket and pillow and just a few things from home that made me feel comfortable. That way the hospital seemed LESS intense. So during labor if you have a few of your own things you will feel calmer, more relaxed because you will have some of your home with you to help get you through those rough patches of labor.
2. Give your partner [or remember for yourself] to a list of things that might help! Such as Massage, wiping their face with a cool washcloth, speaking in a low tone. I always sit down with clients and say hey ASK yourself what you MIGHT like and remember that it MIGHT change in the moment. Be vocal ahead of time on what might work for you and what you might want. I have had birthing people tell me "I DEFINITELY WANT A MASSAGE DURING LABOR" then middle of labor "DO NOT TOUCH ME" it happens! Things change. Be vocal ahead of time and during labor regroup on the list see how you feel.
3. Encourage other relaxation & distraction measures. The tub is a HUGE distraction in a positive way. Get the tub full the water feels great since it is a full body relaxer as it helps with the abdomen, uterus, lower back, chest ect! Try the tub put some music on, low lighting. The birth ball is also great. You can lean onto the bed while sitting on the ball, you can bounce, you can just sit. Movies are also a great distraction as are music.
Distraction is huge. Talk with your partner or support person about what you think might work, what you are open to, how you feel about different types of measures and go for it. And remember when you are in the moment if things just don't sit right or feel right for you be vocal. USE THAT VOICE. There is nothing wrong with saying "please don't talk during contractions" "DO NOT touch me" these are important things to vocalize and express because now things seem fine but when in the moment things might change and that is okay!
There are so many different ways of comfort, find what works for you and even in the moment suggest things it doesn't hurt to suggest or to offer to see if the laboring person [or yourself if you are the laboring person] wants to try and see if it helps.
If you are a support person remember that the most important thing you can do in the moment is simply just BEING THERE. Them seeing you supporting them, that is amazing in itself.
What worked for you? Are there any comfort measures that worked well for you during labor?
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