As a childbirth education I read a lot of different opinions about labor pain. I am not talking about contractions, the tightening and loosening of the uterus, but actual pain associated with them.
Some sources say that labor pain is natural and necessary to have a baby. Other sources say that labor pain can be avoided if you prepare your mind and body properly. Another sources claims you can pray away any labor pain.
While I have watch and read many testimonies from birthing woman that attest to the truth of certain claims, I have also watch and read many testimonies saying that it was not as excepted or expressed in a book or class they took.
What I have gained from all my studies, is that all the most popular childbirth education methods have a few things in common to achieve less “pain” or in some cases, a “pain” free labor and delivery. I can also pick out a few things from stories and videos of why some woman did not get what they expected.
4. Positioning is key
If your baby is in the correct position at birth, you will have a much quicker and less painful birth. This is not due to chance, though. Understanding key positioning methods is critical before labor even starts. Almost all natural childbirth methods and books talk about correct fetal positioning and exercises to achieve them.
I have read birth story after birth story about this or that method not working and subsequently having a long and painful labor. At some point in the story, it is discovered that the baby was posterior or in another less desirable position.
An labor with a baby in a less than optimal position can change a normal labor into a long and arduous process.
3. Preparation is necessary
Another thing most methods have in common is the preparation stage. You cannot just read the book or attend the class and think you are ready for labor day. You may think you have got the methods down pat, but when in the throws of the intensity of labor, they go right out the window.
Whatever the method is, practice, practice, practice!
That means that at least 4 weeks (the more the better) before your EDD, you should be spending 30 minutes at least 5 days a week preparing your mind and body for labor. This is a stage that cannot be taken lightly.
Again, reading many of the stories that end with a less desirable labor, the writer will admit that she did not do as much preparation as was suggested.
2. Support is essential
When preparing for an easy labor, it is not enough to prepare yourself. You need support to keep you on track or to help you get back on track when you have derailed.
This can be your husband, it he is committed to learning to necessary support techniques, or you can hire a doula (which I highly recommend) that has experience with the method of childbirth that you are working towards.
There are going to be times in labor that thinks change dramatically, and in those times you might find yourself struggling to stay with the program, or loosing it all together. It is critical to have someone who knows what to do or say to you to get you back into the zone.
1. Turning inward (or upward) is critical
Method after method share the same major tool. Inwardness!
This means leaving the thinking side of yourself and going into a deeper side where you can be focused and unfocused all at the same time.
You have to be intentional about staying in that zone, but that zone exists with no major thinking or hearing. You are only slightly aware of what is going on around you, but it is not the primary thing your brain in processing. Instead you are focusing on breathing, relaxing and even praying. You will find yourself in a state of unconscious consciousness (like you’re driving but not paying attention and find yourself at your destination without making any conscious decisions about driving).
While there are many other aspects that contribute to an easier labor like staying health and active during pregnancy, working through fears or past traumas, and believing in your bodies ability to give birth naturally, these 4 tools are key to achieving a more pleasurable birth experience.
Be aware, that I also believe that you can prepare yourself to the nth degree, do everything “right” and birth still throws you a curve ball that ends the game in an unexpected outcome.
Trust me, I have been there done that. I planned my first birth at home with an experiences midwife and still ended with an unnecessary C-section. But my belief about life is that everything is an opportunity for grow and 3 years later I would never want my first birth to be different as it has made me the person I am today.
Remember this…Labor is work. Labor is hard work, at that. More than anything, labor is natural and normal. Your body already knows how to give birth, but preparing our bodies physical and our minds mentally is a great component to an easier birth.