1) Impatience to end the pregnancy due to discomfort, fatigue and eagerness to hold their baby
2) The possibility of a long, discouraging pre-labor phase.
These challenges make parents more accepting of induction or vulnerable to the belief that there is something wrong. Parents need to understand that labor normally begins only when all of the following occur:
• The fetus is ready to thrive outside the uterus (breathing, suckling, maintaining body temperature, and more).
• The placenta has reached the point where it can no longer sustain the pregnancy.
• The uterus is ready to contract, open and expel the baby.
• The mother is ready to nourish and nurture her baby.
If parents understand that fetal maturity is essential in initiating the chain of events leading to labor, they may be more patient with the discomforts of late pregnancy, and less willing or anxious to induce labor without a medical reason.
Natural induction methods are a viable options to assist and allow for the above criteria to be met and for labor to commence. However, they are not meant to coax the baby out but rather to encourage the process along. I will blog about natural induction methods coming up but for now, please see one delicious way by checking out my Labor Cookies Recipe.
The ways to progress to a vaginal birth
Progress before and during labor and birth occurs in many ways, not simply cervical dilation and descent, which is what most people focus on. Labor unfolds gradually, which begin weeks before labor and involve the cervix. The cervix moves forward, ripens, effaces and then dilates. When parents understand that a long pre- or early labor is accomplishing necessary progress – preparing the cervix to dilate – they are less likely to become anxious or discouraged that nothing seems to be happening. The other steps involve the fetus: the fetal head repositions during labor by flexing, rotating, and moulding to fit into the pelvis; and lastly, the fetus descends and is born.
Possible signs of labor
The most important of these is the first one:
Positive signs of labor
The most important of these is the first one:
Staying positive amidst pre- and early labor is important in the process of delivering your baby. Women progress in many different ways and your journey is your own pathway to forge for you and your baby. The hard work put into the process is well worth it. Just knowing the signs above can and will help in understanding when it is a good time to bring in your birth team, call your midwife, go to the hospital (or stay at home), and move forward in a positive and healthy manner.
Stayed tuned for more progression through labor and delivery, as well as some natural induction methods!
"We have no idea what we are doing..."
The moment a woman is pregnant, I SO wish she received a special download into her brain of all the things she needs to know going forward from this moment on. Wouldn't that bring such peace and understanding to the situation? Me, oh my!!
My Backstory: In 2010, I was a newly pregnant single woman on the verge of chaos, not knowing what my future would hold. Fear flowed through my entire body for days as I scrambled to read, research, and refine this new state of existence. So much to think about, so much to do!!!
Today: As a woman on the other side of pregnancy and birth, I am deep in the trenches of motherhood. I must be vulnerable with you and admit that on some days, I feel like "my self" has returned! And I can confidently conquer any animal cracker that gets thrown my way. I am Wonder Woman!! ->
But on other days, motherhood can be dreary, dreadful and downright powerless... when all I can do is lay on the couch with my kids and let them watch whatever they want for a few hours until nap and/or bedtime. This mommy'ing thing is TOUGH ladies!
Encouragement: I'm here to tell you that you are DEFINITELY not alone - Your child chose YOU to be their mom. That is saying A LOT considering they could have chosen anybody else in the world...but they wanted you to be their mommy. What a privilege and a blessing...
But let's be honest, LADIES --
We have no idea what we are doing.
Seriously! Us moms are just wingin' it and praying we don't don't cause too much damage to our kids. But take heart, dearest one. We are imperfectly human... In time, our grown-up children will understand that mom's human nature and love is what nurtured them to the best of mom's ability.
If I had a few TIPS to give you dearies, they would be the following:
(because I know ain't nobody got time for a long-winded blog) ---
1.) Use your breath to carry you through each day...hour...minute...second -- Breath is there to hold you, keep you level-headed, and secure. Use it often and deeply! Yoga with Adriene helps me connect to my breath.
2.) Use your intuition. TRUST that it will guide you. Ask your intuition for guidance, new perspective, anything! Like a mama muscle, intuition gets better and stronger with use -- it's your wise inner bestie!
In closing, I wish you beauties the Best and Highest Good and Blessings for you and your precious families.
Lastly: Just like traffic, so it is with raising littles --
There is chaos, impatience, and frustration but one thing remains: We are in this together..
Part 3: Let's bring this baby home!!
We have been diving into the three R's that all work wonderfully when done in sync with each other to ensure a peaceful childbirth experience.
We began with RELAXATION. Then we felt the RHYTHM. Now let's bring this baby home and discuss the last R:
Creating a ritual for birth is icing on the top of your baby's birthday cake. Ritual helps you sink deeper into Laborland, noticing the big picture rather than all the distractions, sensations and chaos around you. Here are some rituals that are catalysts for any birth.
1) Meditation & Prayer --
Question: What do the brains of a person in meditation and a woman in labor have in common?
Answer: Their brains are both in Theta.
Theta brain waves in the brain are exhibited when a person is in deep relaxation or mental imagery. In this stage, we also dream. This stage is just after Alpha waves, which are when we have a relaxed focus, increased seratonin production, and experience pre-sleep. During labor, it is best to optimize the stages between Alpha and Theta stages of brain waves.
We can do this through meditation or prayer. If you already have some type of similar practice, challenge yourself by calming your mind every day until baby arrives. You can also attempt your practice with distraction, like various noises around you that your mind can jump from one to the next (also called non-focused awareness). Another distraction is the ice cube contraction: hold ice tightly in your hands and time a minute contraction. Try different techniques during your ice contractions and see what helps you not focus on the intensity of the ice in your hand but on other things, like other sensations or breath.
Feel free to contact me for more tips on how to do this fun exercise!
2) Affirmations --
When you have positive affirmations showering you during labor, time seems to pass by and contractions have a purpose. It is easy for the mind to wander, thinking that something is wrong and that contractions are too painful to go on.
Affirmations are just sayings that have meaning to you. You can find them in books or come up with them on your own. I have clients write out affirmations on colorful notecards and stick them all over their laboring space. That way, when you need a word of encouragement, you don't need to ask for them. You can look around your room and find a message meant just for you.
You may check out Hynobirthing for Affirmations. They are sensational!
We live in a world where control is king. As women, we want to control the labor process, so we will read and research until our brains are numb. We create the ideal birth plan, hoping that much of it will happen the way that we want it to.
I want to be real with you ladies. The day your body decides to go into labor is the day you lose all control. Labor is all about surrendering! Surrendering to your body, your baby, and the process it is going to take to deliver a healthy and happy baby, and a new mama!
The one thing we can control in labor is our breath. Focus on the breath and learn some different breathing techniques for the stages of labor. Breath is paramount to maximizing those contractions to urge that baby down. Use what you have, YOUR BREATH, to your advantage.
4) Hire a Doula --
There are many evidence-based reasons for having a labor support person with you during your birthing experience. Doulas have the expertise to assist you with physical comforts, emotional support, and information. A doula provides a wealth of support that you wished you had. With all the up's and down's that labor entails, it is worth having someone in the room with you that has a calm demeanor and a sound mind to help you make informed decisions and make you feel safe during your journey through Laborland.
Final Thoughts --
If what you are seeking is a natural birth, and all you have is today to prepare for labor, I have only one piece of advice:
Ground yourself in love and let all the rest go.