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22 Ways to make your Birth Easier

  • Posted on February 1, 2012 at 6:24 pm

22 Ways to make your Birth Easier? It is all in the birthing bag that every pregnant woman should assemble in her last trimester. This is the bag that goes with you for birth: different from the suitcase you pack for the hospital stay after the baby is born. Wherever you choose to birth, you and your labor support people can be well prepared for the potential use of many items to make labor easier. The image of a Mary Poppins bag comes to mind.  Items serve specific purposes, but  whenever utilized they may simply serve as a distraction or a much needed change to support relaxation, focus, confidence and resolve so as to move through intensifying uterine waves. Consider the following:

  1. Written Birth Plan/Preferences. It is helpful for all involved to have a reminder handy of what your preferences are.  A Mother-Led birth helps result in a satisfying birth.
  2. Clothing to maximize freedom of movement in labor in and out of a birthing room (light shift, sweater or robe and slippers or warm socks): anything to replace or cover a typical hospital gown.
  3. Focal Point: Many women practice relaxation using both internal and external focal points. Use one you can take with you.
  4. Favorite music or relaxation narrative on a portable device: Several compilations from smooth, relaxation, to motivating, movement music may be chosen during different times in labor for calmingly ‘Zoning out’ or rocking and dancing to encourage baby’s descent.
  5. Lollipop: Especially sour candy on a stick promotes salivation to keep mouth moist and deliver sugar for energy. The stick allows taking out to breathe.
  6. Breath spray or mouthwash: If support partners are breathing closely with birthing mom….
  7. Juice: as small can of sweet juice or energy drink to add to ice chips.
  8. Washcloth for cooling moisture. Colored so it can be distinguished from facility’s white ones.
  9. Lotion/oil for massage
  10. Lip balm
  11. Distractions: Cards, portable game for prolonged labor and distraction.
  12. Back massage devises: commercially designed rollers or just tennis balls in a can. (The balls alone are useful for easing back labor and the entire can rolled in a towel works well too.)
  13. Aromatherapy
  14. Mood lighting if birthing room has limited light control.
  15. Birth Ball  if not provided at facility.
  16. Hair accessories to pull hair from face.
  17. Labor log to record timing of uterine waves and other sign posts of labor (don’t forget a pencil/pen).
  18. Timing Device to track progress through and length of uterine waves- stop watch, watch with a second hand etc.  Reminding a laboring woman of her progress through each uterine wave builds confidence and resolve, one wave at a time.
  19. Labor positions on a list or a set of cards of each position to post around the labor room. It is essential that labor support partners promote movement and changes in positioning throughout labor.
  20. Support partners’ notes for reference.  Childbirth educators usually provide summaries of labor signs and suggested appropriate coping techniques. Written narratives for relaxation and mediation will ease labor. No one is expected to remember it all!
  21. Support partners’ snacks: a well-nourished, comfortable support partner will be your best advocate.
  22. Support partners’ trunks or bathing suit for joining you in the shower or tub.

AND DON’T FORGET:

Key phone numbers: birthing facility, doctor, support persons & family.

Last minute additions?  Wallet & insurance documents, Glasses and Contacts or cases for either, Camera & phone.

BREATHING: EXPLORE, TEACH, & PRACTICE, practice, practice, practice, practice

  • Posted on April 28, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Conscious breathing has always been the basis for dealing with labor pain. There are a number of different birthing strategies that are taught now, and they all base their techniques on breathing, whether it is for relaxation, concentration, distraction, meditation or hypnotic effect.  Holding one’s breath is a typical reaction to pain, anticipated pain and sometimes stress. Rhythmic breath promotes concentration, relaxation and promotes pain relief.  However, during the process of birth’s variations and challenges, these benefits of breathing are best utilized if the breathing is well understood and comes easily to you and your support people. Without the ability to just move into a practiced behavior, you can become confused, ineffective at pain relief and possibly more stressed.

Women who practice a variety of breathing techniques and patterns to a level of high comfort and conditioning will benefit best from any breathing. What breathing looks like and how many different types of breath are used is far less important than you having a repertoire of practiced, breath-related coping skills to draw upon during birth. The best Lamaze class includes the exposure and in-class practice of a number of different styles of breathing. These types of breathing should include deep, slow and shallow, fast styles. The uses and benefits should be explored and at-home trial and practice insisted upon. In order to utilize these technique under the stress of labor, you need to condition yourself through practice, so you can comfortably move from one to another if needed through the course of birth.

So many childbirth classes of today overshadow the calming skills, including breathing, with discussion of medical procedures and complications of birth. No time is left for the real teaching and practice of coping techniques. A quality Lamaze class will teach and support practice of progressive breathing styles  during a series of at least 5 sessions.  You and your support person will learn, try out at home and return to class to reinforce all styles so as to select those to continue to practice for your own labor. With this level of emphasis, hopefully you will commit to practice, knowing it will make a better birth outcome.

I have gained my own selection of breathing styles to teach, through the practice and study of many different disciplines. I utilize breath techniques from my training from Lamaze, hypnosis, yoga, meditation/relaxation and more . Breathing does not stand alone as a labor coping skill. It is, however, the basis of and promotes the benefits of all others.  If you have the opportunity to explore breathing for labor, you should adopt a variety and practice them until you can execute them comfortably without much concentration. They will serve you well in labor.

THE EPIDURAL QUESTION: Yes, No, Maybe?

  • Posted on March 21, 2011 at 10:54 am

Since the continuous epidural and the continuous fetal monitor came on the scene 30 years ago, birthing in hospitals has changed at worst from women (nurses) supporting birthing women, at their side, using proven a miriad of comfort measures,  to staff  “monitoring” a birthing woman’s progress based on mechanical, electonic data….from another room yet. At best we are frightening generations of women into thinking they need to be numb and incapacitated in order to make their passage into motherhood.  So “Maybe” is a good way to go.  The epidural has been too universally accepted as OK for everyone, yet it doesn’t always work and opens the doors to more, often avoidable medical interventions. The terrific Blog called Birth with Confidence is running a series of entries on the goods and bads of epidurals by a very qualified medical professional: Dr. Michael Klein. Every woman should be fully aware of what she is accepting for herself and her baby, when accepting an epidural. With work and reframing your vision of birth in advance of birth this “Maybe” can turn into a “No” for you. Birthing women….you are just having a baby…..not embarking on a major medical procedure…unless that is what you want…. Read this first Blog entry: Epidurals: Food for Thought.  If you want more information go to Childbirth Connection and view their information on ‘Labor Pain’ . Then look at all of your alternatives for Empowering, Positive, Support for Birth.

BIRTH SHOULD BE TAUGHT AS POSITIVE

  • Posted on March 3, 2011 at 11:07 am

Television Abomination Turns Me Radical-One Born Every Minute should be taken off the air.

I cannot believe this television show is being allowed on the air by physicians, nurses, birthing moms, etc. And shame on Jamie Lee Curtis for being involved as the narrator. It takes a lot to get me riled up, but after the first birth, I was sad. After the second I was mad. After the rest (that I could bear to watch), I am extremely fired up, irritated, disappointed and just plain mad. IF YOU ARE PREGNANT, DON’T WATCH IT. Watch positive films such as Organic Birth, Born in the USA or Natural Born Babies. Or meditate on a calm birth and attend real birthing classes designed to give you tools and train your support peope.

The only women who would watch this horrible show repeatedly are pregnant women or those looking to get pregnant, and THESE ARE EXACTLY THE WOMEN WHO SHOULD NOT WATCH. These are sensationalized, poorly explained, poorly and highly medically managed births. THIS IS THE WORST DISSERVICE we can do to the young women birthing today. BIRTH IS NOT/SHOULD NOT BE TELEVISION DRAMA.  There is no representation of the many peaceful hours of most labors, only the last 5-10 minutes of drama and medical interventions.  Women who make loud sounds and scrunch up their faces in the last stage of labor are usually reacting to the profound urges of their bodies. THESE REACTIONS  ARE OFTEN SOUNDS OF POWER, ENERGY AND RELIEF and are not necessarily exhibitng pain, as the viewer interprets and the narrator fails to correct. This kind of drama should be driving women to home birth every minute of the day. It sure would me!

NEGATIVE, MEDICAL MANAGEMENT OF LABOR

The first thing that could make the births I was able to get through is to STOP PUTTING WOMEN TO BED, in labor. This may be easier to film, but is not where women should be laboring 90 percent of the time. If women are encouraged to be up and about during labor, they will need less, if any medication, less labor augmentation, less vacuum extraction and shorter labors.  This would also be the result if the NURSES SPENT TIME IN THE BIRTHING ROOM , ENCOURAGING, SUPPORTING AND OBSERVING birthing women instead of sitting, chatting at the nursing station and relying on the often misleading monitors to tell them of a woman’s labor progress and condition.  If women are encouraged to BIRTH IN UPRIGHT, HANDS AND KNEES OR SIDELYING POSITIONS, they can avoid the vacuum delivery so often shown on this show and Cesarean Surgery that is presented as some kind of ultimate relief to the mom and baby.  NORMAL BIRTH HAS ITS OWN NATURAL RELIEF.

LACK OF SUPPORTIVE EDUCATION

It is sad that this is what young women see as birth. We have unnecessarily frightened an entire generation of women into thinking that birth is painful, scarry, traumatic and something horrible to have to endure. Women approach birth now with fear, more than ever before. They do so to the extent that they are willing to take medication they think will numb them from the entire experience.   BIRTH IS NORMAL AND NATURALLY MANAGEABLE AND IF WOMEN ARE CONDITIONED TO UNDERSTAND THIS AND HOW BIRTH CAN BE POWERFUL AND WONDERFUL, they will approach the experience with calm and confidence. Women are failing to receive quality education and failing to get quality support in labor. They are clearly not being given THE REALITY OF BIRTH AND HOW THEY CAN CONFIDENTLY AND POSITIVELY PARTICIPATE.  Those around them who are supposedly there for support are not being given the tools and assertiveness training to handle birth themselves, rather than acquesing to every medical intervention available. MANY INTERVENTIONS SIMPLY LEAD TO A CASCADE OF ADDITIONAL INTERVENTIONS, resulting in complications and trauma to mom and baby: hence the “drama” for the films. 

RESPONSIBILITY OF THE HOSPITAL          

I could go on, but I question the hospitals reasoning for allowing this program to use their facility and their patients. It reeks of just another revenue center, just as births with multiple medical interventions have become. MAKING MONEY AT THE EXPENSE OF THE BIRTHING FAMILY is unconscionable, but becoming an accepted practice. 

BIRTHING WOMEN; Don’t  get caught up in the negative mental and emotional cycle being promoted by shows like this. AVOID THEM!! EDUCATE YOURSELVES ABOUT NORMAL BIRTH. NORMAL BIRTH IS GOOD. NORMAL BIRTH IS EMPOWERING. Sure normal birth is hard work, but NORMAL BIRTH IS NOT TO BE FEARED.

QUALITY BIRTH CLASSES IN SY VALLEY

  • Posted on January 21, 2011 at 10:50 am
Independent Lamaze instructor with Lamaze born baby

LynDee and Granddaughter Aspen

Welcome to my Blog. I hope to connect with local pregnant women and couples to offer information and support at this very special time of their lives!
The future Moms of SY Valley no longer have to drive out of the Valley to attend the quality education they deserve and desire. Since babies are not delivered at Santa Ynez Hospital, prospective mothers travel to Santa Maria, Lompoc or Santa Barbara for prenatal education provided by a hospital. Often they choose a one day, highly inferior class to avoid weekly drives at night. Or they take a class by an instructor who focuses primarily on hospital, physician and staff procedures rather than on birth. This doesn’t really prepare women for what birthing is really like and how they can help and deal with birthing sensations, no matter what kind of birth they think they want. My classes offer the quality and diversified, detailed instruction offered only by an independent, certified educator.
It is time to meet locally, learn objectively and trust birth for the extraordinary, powerful experience that it is.
Everyone should be sure to log onto www.childbirthconnection.com and read articles of greatest interest to you. This is a fine and reliable resource.
Keep checking back to this Blog for information and discussion on current birthing practices and recommendations.