AKA “less ow and more WOW!”
You’ve likely spent your entire life hearing the word pain associated with childbirth. Just the word PAIN in and of itself, is part of what causes birth to be more painful. I can tell you that birth does NOT have to be excruciatingly painful. Actually, a percentage of women have actually told me that they would never use the word pain to describe birth. They say some thing like “it’s intense,” “It’s a lot of pressure,” “there’s just a feeling of stretching,” “there’s a swirl of energy in there.” One of my students said, “I felt like my cervix and baby were being hugged”. Now that’s what I’m talking about.
You can search the internet on how to reduce “pain” in labor, and find things that suggest aromatherapy, staying upright and moving around, and getting an epidural. Maybe these things can help you. In my experience of being present for hundreds of births and helping thousands of women prepare for and give birth and listening to countless women share their stories of what helped them during birth, I can pretty much promise you that if you implement and practice the strategies below you will have a manageable birth experience. AKA “less ow and more WOW!”
My top 10 key teachings to reduce pain in labor
- Change the way you think and talk about birth. Stop using the word pain, since pain is something to avoid, and start talking about the sensations of labor. Relate to the sensations as something that you WANT to experience. If you want your baby to come out of your vagina, you must go towards the sensations of labor… even get excited and curious about them.
- Focus your attention when you’re in labor on your baby. Breathe down to your baby. Talk to your baby. Tell your baby that you love them and what a great job s/he is doing. Rub your belly. Ask yourself regularly, “what can I do to help my baby feel good as s/he is coming out”. Your baby is an integral part of the birth.
- Become a wild animal in labor. That means, find a dark, quiet place with NO (or little) disruption. When you are undisturbed, you will be autonomous and self directed. When you are in a dark, quiet, safe place, your parasympathetic nervous system will be activated, which will help you produce more of the hormones you need for a more efficient birth. For a hospital birth, stay at home until there is something you need at the hospital that is not available to you at home. For a homebirth, only have your midwife come to your house if you need her to provide something that is not available when you’re alone (Like someone to be there when the baby is born).
- Stop acting like a crazy person. If you scream, clench, writhe around, you are INCREASING the pain. How? By moving the blood flow away from your baby and uterus. When you are RELAXED, you increase your breathing and your oxygenated blood flow to your uterus and your baby, thereby creating more flexible muscle fibers in your uterus, and providing your baby with the extra oxygen s/he needs to sustain the reduction in oxygen that occurs with each uterine surge.
- Treat your vagina like the magical queen that she is. Fill in the blank: My vagina is ________. If any words like “painful,” “I don’t know,” “tight,” “scared,” “mysterious,” came up for you, it’s time to get to know and make friends with your vagina. I am not making light of this. There are lots of reasons why people are disconnected from their vagina. If this is you, start by talk to her. Looking at her. Touching her gently. And letting her know that you want her to open up to let baby out safely and gently. (refer to therapy practice)
- Learn how to breathe. Huh? Of course you know how to breathe. I mean, learn how to breathe in a way that allows you to focus your mind, slow down or quiet your thoughts, bring more oxygen to your baby, and activate the parasympathetic nervous system so your body can produce more endorphins and more oxytocin. Track number 7, Breathing Instruction and Practice, on my audio relaxation program teaches the breathing. Wanna listen to a free track to help you relax for birth, go here.
- You know the expression, Fake it til you make it? Well, that is just what you need to do in labor. ACT like you love it. SMILE. Say “YES” to every sensation and every surge. Tell you baby “We can do this!”.
- Create a safe and comfortable space. Why would you give birth in a place that scares you? You have to feel safe when you give birth. So, if want to experience more comfort in labor and be able to handle the whole experience better, you CANNOT give birth in a place or surrounded by people who make you uncomfortable. That means, your controlling mother can’t be around you. That means that your condescending husband can’t touch you. That means that your doctor who tells you you need to induce because your baby might be too big or you might be too old, needs to be nixed and a new provider who trusts birth and your instincts should be hired. I say… if you want a low intervention birth, see a midwife. Going to many doctors for a more natural birth is like walking into an Italian restaurant and asking for Sushi. Simply put, the chances that they can come up with sushi, is pretty low.
- Help your baby get into a good position before you even go into labor. Ok, Y’all. You think this is a joke, but it’s not. How your baby enters the pelvis will play a huge factor in how much or little intensity of sensation you have during labor. Imagine the difference between the sensation of the back of your baby’s hard, round head pressing into your sacrum, versus your baby’s soft, flatter face. This is just one small point about optimal positioning. Your best bet is to watch the Spinning Babies videos.
- Eat well and move your body. You and your baby are what you eat and how you move. Now, I can’t say that if you eat well and exercise during your pregnancy that you’ll have a less painful childbirth. What I can say, is that a woman who is conscious about what she eats, makes thoughtful choices about eating foods that will grow the healthiest baby possible, and prioritizes getting appropriate exercise in pregnancy, will likely have more skills to hone her intuition for labor, be patient with the process, feel stronger mentally, physically and emotionally, and, not to mention, will likely have a healthier placenta with a longer “shelf” life in labor. So, eat the foods that you want your baby made out of. (Oreo VS Avocado? Hmmm. Hotdog VS grass fed burger? Well then.) And, move your body regularly to improve circulation, energy level, mental focus, and overall vitality.
Now that you know what to do to help you have a less painful birth, I want to make sure that you have the EASIEST, PRACTICAL TOOL to help your body and your mind know how to be when you’re in labor. That’s right: Reading this blog post is not enough. You must PRACTICE relaxation. You must teach your mind to go into a relaxed state of focused concentration so that your animal birthing body can take over… Remember, animals need no one to tell them what to do in labor or when it’s time to push!
What I’ve done for you is create a comprehensive Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond Audio Relaxation Program to help you learn to relax, focus, and become very skilled to meet whatever is happening during your baby’s birth. The Audio Program uses relaxation, visualization, hypnosis, breathing techniques, and creating a deeper connection with your baby, to help you produce more of the hormones that make birth work. And that’s what we want. We want you to have a relaxed, safe birth, where you get to greet your baby feeling happy, empowered, and satisfied.
Ready to try it?
If you want to feel supported and help your nervous system reach a healing state, definitely try out my free “Relaxing Into Pregnancy” audio track. This relaxation and meditation track helps you feel confident and ready to give birth. Bottom line: When you’re relaxed and feel good, your baby gets all those good vibes. We want your baby to be made out of relaxation, peace and ease. We want your baby to grow in an environment that reassures them that they’re safe. What’s good for you, is good for your baby. It’s a win-win.Click here to try it for free!