Captain’s Log: 14 Days To Go: Must Remember When Going Into Labour

Another 3am wake up call. Well at least I have the advantage of of free ‘what-you-doing-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-fool?!’ broadband usage. We’re just going through the processes of buying a new house due to complete this Friday so I’ve probably got a couple of other things on the brain other than ‘just’ giving birth. Mind you, I’m sure I’m not alone.

As D-Day approaches, I’ve prepared a small list that I am going to try to remind myself of whilst in labour. Things that I have learned and picked up on the different courses. Just the 3 key things though otherwise I won’t remember anything!

  1. UFO: Upright / Forward / Open
  3. RELAX: Your jaw, shoulders, vagina/pelvic floor

During child birth I am very much trying to do one thing: TRY to enjoy child birth (I can hear all you mum’s out there laughing at me already). I figure there are a few things that will help me to achieve this; A) my physical positions to help aid the baby out in the most efficient way and B) what I’m up to mentally as it seems a lot of it is in your head as well.

UFO: A neat acronym to remind you during contractions and birth that you should NOT be on your back if you can help it. All info advises your body is not designed to give birth this way and can lead to increased pain as your body is not only pushing out a baby but also working against gravity. So being upright and leaning forward where I can to help myself. Many women seem to give birth in this position or indeed on all fours. Open is mainly to make sure your pelvis is open as well as your legs (doesn’t mean you have to be spread eagled for this bit, just enough to let a baby pass through). Also I’ll be trying to keep my knees below my hips as well.

BREATHE: A simple thing to remember to do that can get you into a good head space and that can help you cope with contractions. If you’ve had the opportunity to experience antenatal yoga /active birthing session or any hypnotherapy classes, breathing correctly can be a massive help during labour as it gives you something different to focus on, stops you hyperventilating and can help you ‘breathe through the pain’. Definitely not saying this is the solution for everyone but when I practice myself I notice a difference. Ujjayi breathing makes a Darth Vader sound mainly on the exhale, it slows & calms your breathing and makes me feel grounded. The Golden Thread technique helps you picture a golden thread leaving your mouth as you breathe out, and retracts the thread as you breathe in. This is a visualisation and breathing technique that helps you keep your jaw & mouth relaxed during labour and again helps focus the mind.

RELAX: This is literally a reminder to myself to make sure certain parts of my body are not tensed up. When you’re scared or in pain it is so easy to become tight even if you’re trying to breathe properly. During my active birthing sessions, despite the breathing I was concentrating on I suddenly noticed that my jaw / shoulders / pelvic floor were are tight. The teacher advised the hubby to just gently touch my shoulders to help me relax them, but its not so easy for him to do with the jaw & pelvic floor. The shoulders are important to me as I generally carry tension in them and it does not help for a relaxed state of mind. The jaw is a fascinating thing to keep an eye on. It makes sense that if your cervix or vagina are tight that it may restrict the birthing process, possibly making it slower or more painful… but what has that got to do with the jaw? Much research has been done to show that your jaw / mouth / throat are directly linked to these areas, in short: Open Mouth=Open Cervix …. (also Open Throat=Open Vagina), how bizarre and amazing is that? Finally pelvic floor/vagina, well, no shock on this one. Yet surprisingly it is easy to tense up and forget, again just a reminder to check it’s relaxed so the baby can pass through more easily.

Please speak to a specialist for more advise on these points. I’ll be keeping them in mind,   best laid plans and all that, we shall see how I get on…. 8am… time for bed!

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