Sweet Peas, Pods & Papas: All About Birth, B@@bs & Babies
Originally published February 2011 ~ Updated July 25, 2014
The class topic last night was first stage labor. This stage is characterized by a
progressive intensification of the sensations in labor. A mom will experience her contractions,
or her “surges”, getting increasingly stronger and longer with less time
between them, as she gets closer to the pushing phase of her labor.
Why do a "labor rehearsal" when labor is so unpredictable?? Mostly to train you and your partner into some "muscle memory".
Dr. Bradley's natural birth principles are centered around supporting the laboring mother without interrupting her labor. He describes the six needs of a laboring mother in his book, Husband-Coached Childbirth (you can find a brief synopsisHERE
I always enjoy reading other authors who promote the same philosophy from their unique experience and perspective. One of the books that was part of our re-certification a couple of years ago (that I now get to share with students through our lending library) is
Whether you have a long labor, a short labor, or something in between, there will come a time when you have to draw within yourself to gather the energy you need to see your birth through. This was definitely my favorite affirmation - mantra really - as we hit the point in labor when there was barely time to let go of all the tension before another contraction started again.
I envisioned the energy around me as a vortex, and as I inhaled I swirled energy into me and as I exhaled I sent all my tiredness and tension away.
Here is an affirmation to remember and use in many labor situation: whether you have a sprint where your brain is running to catch up to your body, or a marathon where energy conservation is key, or anything in between. There comes a point in most labors where the mother needs to focus on gathering energy so she can get past the tiredness and have energy to finish the labor and push in the second stage of labor.
In my mind, energy was vortex-shaped and I needed to center that vortex on our birth.
We are reviewing the stages of labor as we are entering the last classes of our series. One of the big outward signs that labor is progressing is the mother's loss of modesty.
A dad, asked, "What does that mean, losing modesty?" So here is a visual as well as a description of what your partner may be doing as she loses modesty.
This is what I look like on a regular, non-labor day. I usually have my arms covered, my clothes is loose, I almost always wear pants. Occasionally, I wear pedal pushers.
Here are some of the ways we recommend our students
manage their labor without analgesics or anesthetics. Even when they are used in labor, we are so happy that our couples use them as tools to manage a long labor and their children are born nursing vigorously and with high APGAR scores.
Mom and Coach are informed.
Through the course of The Bradley Method® class series,
parents are taught about what to expect as “normal” in labor, what the
variations on normal might be, the different options and interventions in
labor, and how to recognize a complication that warrants a change in the plan
for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.
We have had a couple of students have had textbook “NAPS” in
the last two classes…and since we still have several couples waiting for their
babies, I thought this might be a reminder and an inspiration to them for their
labors. NAP – no, they didn’t take epic
naps in labor (although I am a big advocate for sleeping in labor)…what it
means is that they were very patient in their labors.
One of the cornerstones of The Bradley Method® is a Healthy
Mom, Healthy Baby outcome. All of the
discussion below only applies if Mom and Baby are not showing any signs of
distress through labor.
grateful to Jennifer and Devin Hanson for giving me permission to add their
birth story to our Birth Story Archive.
Their generosity is premiering our first twin story. They have an inspiring story that is a testament to faith and belief in
your body, your coach and your birth team.
was also kind enough to share some thoughts about Bradley Method® classes, care providers and life as a momma
of twins. Read our “virtual interview”
below the links to her birth story.
I made the mistake of serving sweet gooey treats for snack
in class tonight. It got really quiet
after we did our labor rehearsal – oops.
So what are ways of increasing your energy during pregnancy,
or additionally, your labor, if you are feeling low energy?
We talk about it often in class – deep abdominal breathing
is one of the best ways to increase oxygen in your body while still maintaining
a deep level of relaxation.
Chest breathing wastes a tremendous amount of energy.