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Giving Birth of Child, Don’t Box Yourself In
Judy Miders|
Birth Of ChildWhether you’ve opted for a natural birth or a birth using interventions, it’s important not to limit your experience to what is viewed as a “normal” childbirth in our society. Many of the portrayals of childbirth that we see on TV or in movies are not very realistic to what actually entails in the birthing process. If you think you’re just going to show up at the hospital, sit in a bed, push and then your baby will arrive, you are doing yourself and your baby a disservice. To say that the birth of child is a marathon would not do it justice. It can be a long and evolving process, and it’s important to consider a wide variety of techniques that are available to help aid in your birth process that go far beyond what is usually considered the “norm.” Open yourself up to other options and you’ll find that some of these techniques may appeal to you and end up being extremely helpful to you while you’re going through labor.
 
As most women are aware, the birthing process actually begins well before your water breaks. The choices you make while pregnant will undoubtedly help you and your baby in the future. While we don’t often see pregnant women shown in this light, there are studies that show that women who stay fit during their pregnancy are likely to have shorter and more efficient births. If the idea of a painstakingly long labor with many interventions needed doesn’t appeal to you, the best way to plan for an efficient birthing process may be to stay in shape and exercise while pregnant. Obviously consult with your doctor and don’t do anything risky or potentially harmful to the baby, but many available fitness options are walking regularly, using an exercise bike, or attending a water aerobics class. In many areas, you can find specialized exercise classes that are designed for pregnant women. Do some research, and start getting in shape for your delivery.
 
One of the most common images associated with going into labor is the rush to the hospital, where the birthing process can then begin. In reality, many women arrive at the hospital much too early than is necessary, which can contribute to increased anxiety and nervousness when the baby doesn’t come out right away. These feelings of insecurity compound, making it even more likely that your labor will stall. The key to a smooth delivery is relaxation. If you’re intent on getting to the hospital at the first sign of labor, then you are instantly removing yourself from the place where you are the most comfortable—your own home. Many women recommend staying at home for longer than you would expect when you first begin labor. When consulting your doctor, you’ll find that many prefer you to stay home and keep in touch until it is absolutely necessary for you to go to the hospital. For most women, it is advisable to stay in the comfort of their home until contractions either become extremely unbearable or are coming very frequently (less than 5-6 minutes in between). Of course, all arrangements should be made taking into consideration the distance from the hospital, weather concerns and other variables. But overall, taking your time and relaxing at home for the first stages of labor can be beneficial.
 
Portrayals of childbirth often show the mother confined to a bed more than any other place. During the very final stages of pushing (and after you’ve received an epidural), you will most likely be sitting on a bed, but doing so before its absolutely necessary likely won’t help your baby come out faster. During the first stages, it is important to use gravity to your advantage by standing upright and walking around, getting a lower back massage or using steam to relax in the shower. Staying mobile and on your feet will help take your mind off the delivery and relax you until the moment is right. It’s also important to listen to your body and change positions on the bed if at all possible. If you’re going through a natural birth, shifting positions will be especially helpful in ensuring maximum comfort and dealing with the pain. Above all, mothers should be aware that they can make their own decisions when it comes to positions during labor, and if they’re feeling uncomfortable, they should feel empowered to voice those concerns to a nurse, midwife or their partner.
 
Too many women feel confined to a rigid set of standards when they go into labor, but it’s important for a mother to customize her birthing process to make her as comfortable and relaxed as possible. Many times, leaning too much on expectations and popular norms can impede a mother from experiencing her best, most efficient birth. When it comes to birth of child, mothers and families should always be willing to do their research and think outside of the box.


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Photo credit: Hamed Saber / Foter.com / CC BY