Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Comfort Measures for Labor {A Birth Circle Topic}

Believe it or not, you can actually make a positive impact on your labor prenatally by practicing healthy eating habits and proper posture. There are also a few other things you can do prenatally that promote faster, easier labor!

Yoga during pregnancy
Image Credit: Health Me Up

In particular, this pose can help relieve lower back pain in late third trimester,

Regular chiropractic care is beneficial for pregnancy and labor! I recommend at least once in the first and second trimester, and twice during the third trimester; additionally, if you can find a provider skilled in the Webster Technique, chiropractic care can help encourage a breech baby into a vertex presentation.

Acupuncture can also facilitate rotating a breech baby, although you may consider breech a variation of normal!  Regular balancing treatments throughout your pregnancy can enhance your health and positively influence the development of your baby. Acupuncture can also help with nausea, fatigue, anxiety, back pain and more!

Along the lines of all this information regarding fetal positioning, you might like to check out The Miles Circuit.  Many people falsely believe that fetal positioning can prevent, or rather delay labor from starting and this is simply not true, however, having optimal fetal positioning can certainly facilitate a more comfortable labor!

Don't forget, in labor, your body is working and it's working hard!! To help it out, be sure to rest as much as possible in early labor! The best early labor advice I can give you -  is go to sleep. Or if it's the middle of the day or you can't sleep, simply go about your day as normal. Pretend it's not even happening! Nourish your body with healthy foods and drinks and relax.

There was a study done that eating 6 dates a day for the last 4 weeks of your pregnancy can shorten the duration of your labor. Of course dates are also great to ease the symptoms of constipation.
And while we're on the topic of nutrition, throughout the Birth Boot Camp course we'll go over tips to boost your nutrition.

And now... for what you've been waiting for.. Comfort measures for labor.

1) A doula!

Doulas and partners work together to help you have an #amazingbirth
Posted by Guiding Angels Birth Services on Sunday, March 22, 2015

How can a doula can benefit your labor? <-- Click the link for a great read by Evidence Based Birth 
Or visit my Pinterest!

Follow Jennifer Valencia's board Pregnancy & Child Birth on Pinterest.             Follow Jennifer Valencia's board Birth Stories on Pinterest.

Follow Jennifer Valencia's board Doula Goodness on Pinterest.

2) Positioning. Walking and other upright positions help increase the downward compression on your cervix to aid in dilation. Many women find hands and knees to be very comfortable during labor. Birth balls can be wonderful tools to utilize. Lean in to your partner; Bradley classes teach "slow dancing" for labor. Squatting, which is also beneficial prenatally, can relieve back pressure during surges. Lie semi-prone.  Generally, lying on your back or being in a reclined sitting position are the most uncomfortable positions for labor.

3) Water. 'Nuff said!

4) Acupressure or Acupuncture during labor.

5) Birth at home! By not transferring, you maintain the highest level of endorphins and other "happy hormones" that have been triggered by an uninterrupted flow of oxytocin. By staying at home you can maintain your privacy, continue laboring in a dark, peaceful and comfortable environment. Staying at home eliminates the first of all birth interventions.

6) Realize that contractions serve a purpose and pain is not suffering. Penny Simkin's article Comfort in Labor, How You Can Help Yourself to a Normal Satisfying Childbirth is excerpted below,
Most women today are expected, even pressured, to have an epidural in labor, because they and the influential people in their lives equate labor pain with suffering. While an epidural eliminates almost all sensation, including pain, it does not address fear, worry, loneliness, helplessness, or other emotions that lead to distress, dissatisfaction, or even suffering. To prevent suffering, women need more than relief of pain; they need to recognize that labor pain is a side effect of a normal process, not a sign of damage or injury. They need a sense of mastery and well-being as they respond to their pain, but they also need humane, caring, confident people giving continuous support throughout labor. 
7) Breathe. Rythmic breathing is taught in Lamaze and other childbirth preparation courses.

8) Rythm - find yourself in a pattern. That may be rocking, swaying, groaning, or whatever best suits you.

9) Low, deep sounds. Work with your body and "moan out" your surges.

10) Massage and other touches. I enjoy massaging my clients with a 1% dilution of lavender essential oil in grapeseed or fractionated coconut oil.

11) Hot and cold compresses.

12) Counterpressure and double hip squeeze; especially useful for back labor.

13) Many people find positive mantras and music to be helpful during labor. Guided mediation, as taught by hypnobirthing, is amazing!!

14) Surrender

15) TENS Unit or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, can act as a "gatekeeper" to block pain messages to the brain and cause the body to release natural endorphins.

Understand that there may be times when intervention is very appropriate, such as in a very long labor, or perhaps your body needs some relaxation. At these times, women may consider an epidural or IV narcotics. Hopefully someday a combination of gas and air may be available in the United States.
Below you'll see a video on how an epidural is administered and I encourage you to take the time and read The Big Bad Epidural that has links to risks of the epidural but also talks about when an epidural can be a blessing to the mother! And more information at Childbirth Connection.

As mentioned, IV narcotics are another option. Some women describe these as taking the edge off, others dislike them due to the neurological effects.

Keep up to date with YC Birth Circle to join us the next time we cover this and other great topics or find a childbirth preparation course near you to practice some of the comfort measures we covered!

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Survey: Intact or Circumcised? {Ethnography Project}

Ethnography is research designed to explore cultural phenomena. I am a sociology major and currently doing an ethnography of Routine Infant Circumcision in America.

This survey is completely anonymous and if you are the parent of a son, by filling this out you would greatly contribute to my study. Thank you!!

Image Credit: Radical Circumcision by Nick in excilio on Flickr

Contact info

Jennifer Valencia | Labor & Postpartum Doula | 928.300.1337


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