Natural child-birth (labor-birth/delivery) involves work, effort and great satisfaction, but it’s much more than that. Labor is the exhilarating and life-changing transitional journey from pregnancy to motherhood. It welcomes this new little person into the World and into your family.
Whether this is your first baby or your third, fourth or eleventh – it will be a new experience that will stay with you and hopefully be a precious memory when you look back on the birth of this child.
After you’ve read all about the signs of labor and the different stages of labor , you’ll be wanting to know just how to get through each of the stages of labor and how you’ll get through this marathon that is labor. Take each labor contraction at a time, don't think about the next one.
Well if you can think of labor as a marathon you’ll be off to a great start. What do all good sports men and women have in common when getting ready for a long marathon? Preparation! They prepare and practice as much as they can. Labor sometimes resembles a marathon in that it can be long (from 1 to 3 days sometimes) and you need to pace your energy so that you last the distance.
Yes preparation is the key to an easier labor and natural child-birth experience. So what’s worth doing to help you get ready for this life-changing experience?
If you prepare by keeping fit and healthy and doing some kind of pregnancy exercise like prenatal yoga , swimming, aqua-natal classes or just regular walking, all of these will help with your breathing, cardio-vascular and physical fitness for labor.
Preparation for natural child-birth begins soon after you find out that you’re pregnant. That means looking after yourself well, eating a healthy pregnancy diet, staying relaxed and reducing your stress levels . It’s also important to be in tune with your unborn baby. Stay connected to your strong female intuition and don’t let yourself be influenced by negative comments. Try to only listen to positive Birth Stories.
The other main type of preparation is attending ‘Childbirth Preparation Classes’ of one type or another. These could be Lamaze, Bradley Method, National Childbirth Trust, local Hospital classes, or any other type that is run by a qualified, experienced childbirth educator or midwife.
If the classes are run well you will learn about:
• how to use your breath to open up and relax,
• how to relax and contract your pelvic floor muscles,
• how to loosen up and ‘let go’ of tension in your muscles,
• stages of labor & what to expect,
• coping mechanisms for different phases of labor and delivery
• breast feeding & how to care for your new baby
Belly Dancing for Pregnancy and/or Dancing for Birth are also essential in my view. Being able to relax and breath are two of the most important tools for labor. Dancing will help with both.
Childbirth preparation or getting ready for the 'birthday' of your baby is best done in partnership with your husband or partner; this journey into parenthood was started by the two of you together and together you can succeed in achieving the natural gentle birth that you want.
Occasionally the father of your baby may not feel comfortable with being a labor partner. That's fine too. Often in today's world there's a lot of pressure on men to be very actively involved with childbirth. If your man is one of those who's likely to faint at the sight of blood or doesn't feel relaxed about being involved, don't pressure him....instead find a good female friend who will be your pillar of strength and who you know will give you the support you need. After all, birth is woman's business and female energy is what it's all about.
There will be plenty of other useful things that your husband or partner can do to help support you. As you go through pregnancy try to think of ways he can help and let him know!
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