These words of caution could scare you, but going into labor is like taking a walk in the park – only if the park is akin to Jurassic Park. If you thought menstrual cramps were intolerable, labor will redefine pain to you. But, labor pain varies among women; while some women have it as easy as ABC, others find it excruciating. Although there is no escaping the pain, there are ways you can reduce the time in labor. It’s not a fool-proof formula that you need, but a systematic synchronization and prepping of your body to prepare it for the light at the end of the tunnel, after nine long months.
Why Labor Hurts
Labor pain is that one exit strategy that’s bound to hurt, only the length of the pain differs. When it’s finally time for the little human inside you to come out into the world, the muscular organ, uterus, contracts with all its might and these contractions are the source of our pain. The intensity of the pain differs in each pregnancy. There are a number of factors like the baby’s size and position in the pelvis, your stamina, and the strength of the contractions that determine the intensity of that pain.
Here’s How You Can Shorten That Painful Time In Labor:
Labor engages your entire body in delivering your baby, and it can tire you extensively if you haven’t been focusing enough on your fitness. During pregnancy, it becomes all the more important for moms-to-be to keep their pelvic-floor muscles fit, as these muscles are crucial to labor. The flexibility and fitness of the pelvic muscles are of utmost importance as it helps you stretch with a breeze. Take your best friend or your husband and head out to the nearest park and take a stroll. Simple exercises, evening walks, and Yoga can do wonders to ease your time in labor.
2. Hire A Birth Coach
Birth coaches or birth attendants do the job of mothering the mother. Doulas or birth coaches are experienced mothers who extend emotional and practical support to pregnant women throughout the pregnancy and during labor. They often help you plan your next move and assist you in labor. Their experience will not only give you a sense of security but will also help you in overcoming any interventions during childbirth.
3. Eat Fresh, Raw dates
Dates are good, and when you’re pregnant, it’s your Holy Grail. Dates have remarkable ability to shorten the duration of labor. A research has found that women who consumed dates during pregnancy experienced higher cervical dilation and took only half the time in labor (1). Remember to opt for fresh dates and not the processed ones.
We cannot stress enough on how important maintaining a correct posture becomes during pregnancy and labor. A simple rule to maintain a good posture is to follow the UFO rule — Upright, Forward, and Over. Upright and bent over positions enable the labor to progress, by helping the cervix to dilate and ultimately pushing the baby out of the uterus.
5. Do Not Stress
Childbirth can be stressful and exciting at the same time, but it is important for the mother to keep calm and stay relaxed. Unnecessary thoughts and worries can be very taxing during labor. Be in the company of people who you are most comfortable with, voice your concerns if any, and keep breathing in a rhythmic fashion. Engage in relaxation strategies like listening to soothing music, reminiscing your favorite moments, etc. A positive and a clear mind can help make your last milestone of childbirth a cakewalk.
6. Acupressure and Massage
Stimulate the area that is in pain and seek your partner’s help in doing so. This helps you emotionally as well as assists you in coping with the pain. Sometimes, a simple shoulder rub or a neck rub does the magic. Additionally, you can indulge in the age-old practice of acupressure that specifically targets the points in your body to release any knots, get rid of tension, and target the areas that are in pain.
7. Take a Childbirth Class
Like you plan and prepare for any big day, make an effort to familiarize yourself and your partner with the different stages of childbirth. Before your little one is pushed out into this world, prepare yourself to welcome him/her. Take classes about the dos and don’ts of pregnancy and labor, and learn from experienced mothers.
8. Get Your Baby Ready
Ideally, the baby’s head should be facing down, towards the cervix, which makes the delivery of the baby easier and quicker. Ahead of your big day, start encouraging your baby to step into the right position. You can try kneeling or bending over a birthing ball to help your baby adjust into the right position.
A woman’s body transforms dramatically during pregnancy and childbirth is the biggest physical challenge your body is put under. Although labor pain is like the ghost that haunts every pregnancy, don’t forget that you are a rockstar who’s welcoming a little human out of her body. So, go ahead and defeat that pain!
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