Saturday, 20 August 2011

Questions asked about a pain free labour 3

Isn't lying down on the bed the most comfortable way to labour?
No, lying down in labour is the worst position that you can be in. Whilst labouring with my third I was forced to lie in a semi sitting up position whilst on a CTG machine, lay on a bed, and was in agony with the contractions. See the post - The third. Sitting upright or standing or walking about allows your uterus to work with gravity. If you lie down then the contractions have to become stronger as they are working against gravity. See the post - Staying upright and Why labour hurts 4.
You may think that you will be in labour for hours and hours and staying upright will become a major pain in the bum, literally. If you are calm and doing one of the relaxation methods outlined in this blog then your labour will be a lot quicker as there will be no adrenalin holding your cervix shut. I have noticed that women who are relaxed and in control in labour have much shorter labours. Then you can get back into bed and cuddle your brand new beautiful baby and lie down as much as you want. Till the meconium starts flowing and you have to get up to change the first nappy, EW!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Questions asked about pain free labour 2

Why is my cervix not dilating when I am having contractions?
This is the question that I get asked the most. Women start having contractions and become stressed cos they think they will be in a lot of pain during their labour. This stress leads to the automatic production of the hormone adrenalin. Adrenalin receptor sites are present on the cervix. The role of these receptor sites is to protect the baby from being born whenever there is a danger present that will cause mum to secrete adrenalin. Modern mums are taught to fear labour for the pain they think they will suffer so the adrenalin produced attaches itself to the cervix and stops it opening. See the post -Why labour hurts 3.
 Labour is not meant to last days and days. Sometimes it is a simple matter of the baby being too big and not fitting in the maternal pelvis, this is often known before labour starts and the labour sill be watched carefully. Other times it is a matter of not giving the uterus enough energy to burn by not eating small regular meals in labour, carbs are the best. Most of the time a long labour is caused by adrenalin holding the cervix closed cos mum is producing abnormal amounts. See the post - Relax with progressive muscle relaxation, for the method I used for my pain free first stage of labour. See the post - The second. Getting to 10 cm dilated has never been so much fun. xx.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Questions asked about pain free labour

Questions asked about a pain free labour by women in my care as a midwife.
The first reaction women have when introduced to the concept of a pain free labour is disbelief. This is not surprising when you consider how society as a whole presents childbirth to us as an unavoidable, extreamly painful event. Once a beliefe system of this magnitude is in place it is almost impossible to erode or challenge. If anyone is brave enough, they are usually rewarded with ridicule and scorn. Little wonder women today are reluctant to even envisage the very idea of labouring during the first stage of labour without the sensation of pain.
The only concrete evidence I can give women with questions regarding beliefe is that I personally have experienced two pain free out of four labours - see posts in this blog The Second and The Fourth. Some women in my care in labour have also benefited from learning how to relax and so not produce adrenalin in labour. Adrenalin is bad cos of the negative effects it has on the labouring body - see the posts Why labour hurts 2 and 3.
I tell women that it is always beneficial to practice your relaxation method in the pregnancy so that you are used to it by the time labour day arrives. This way you can stay calm and start relaxing as soon as the contractions begin. So when women ask me if a pain free labour is really possible I say yes if you approach it with a birth plan that includes relaxation techniques.
We need more women to come forward after experiencing a pain free labour using coping strategies outlined in this blog. This will help chip away at the belief system that is painful labours. Feel free to leave messages on this blog to spread the word, my lone voice is just not enough.

The Fourth

When the midwife arrived for my home birth I was found to be 5cm dilated. We made the bedroom ready and then went downstairs for a nice cup of tea. I was able to sit and run through my relaxing technique (see the post - Relax with progressive muscle relaxation) and the contractions caused me no pain at all, bliss. However, I don't think the midwife was convinced that I was in labour as she didn't call the second midwife to attend. In the middle of News at Ten, whilst sipping tea and eating biscuits, I instinctively threw myself off the couch onto the floor shouting "My waters have gone and I want to push". The midwife took one look at my sanitary pad and asked my husband to ring the doctor and ask him to come immediately as I was losing meconium stained liquor. This means that the baby has been stressed at some time in the pregnancy or labour causing their bowels to open and contaminate the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby. If any of this meconium is breathed in by the baby at the birth it can have very serious consequences. "Can you make it upstairs?" my midwife asked me. The contraction was ebbing away and so I composed myself and we both sprinted for the stairs. I had planned an upright or hands and knees birth, my midwife asked if this was still the plan but I just threw myself on the bed saying "Just get it out". The head was out in seconds. My midwife was saying to me "Don't Push" as she struggled to get her pack open and suction my baby's mouth and nose to help prevent inhalation. Research has since shown that this practice is of no benefit with meconium stained liquor and in fact can cause harm. I kept saying, "Can I push yet, can I push yet?" just like an annoying child on a journey asking "Are we there yet?" At last she said I could push and my baby shot out into the safe hands of my lovely midwife. I still have dreams of giving birth where my baby shoots out and falls off the end of the bed and I have to follow the cord to find him, my babies are always boys in my dreams. I was having a home birth due to the cruel and heartless way I was treated with my third in hospital, he was taken away before I had a chance to see him 'for a bath' and put back into the farthest corner of the room leaving me aching to hold him. This time my baby was delivered onto my tummy and I was able to see my poo stained bundle of joy for the first time. My gorgeous girl had arrived. I was complete. The wonderful GP who had taken me on for my pregnancy and home birth gave us both a clean bill of health and then left us to it. My second pain free labour. I should become a midwife and help spread the word that most women don't have to suffer painful labours, and here I am. Sorted.