At The End of a Labor Skill Drill

After completing a Labor Skill Drill I ask the class to provide their direct experience with the exercise. I typically find that the responses will run all the way from — huh, I can work with that to I’m getting an epidural before the next simulator. I am equally sure some are thinking how can this teach me anything about Birth.

There is no one right answer.

Thankfully, you live in a world of choices, so you can mostly chose the birth experience you want. However, you must also work within the parameters of choices that your baby, your body, and your doctor/midwife at the hospital/birthing center have made for you. Circumstances that are mostly out of your control.

Such as:

Your body has made the decision that Labor begins right now, your baby locked and loaded, in perfect position in your pelvis, and, of course, your choice of medical facility has its RULES.


Your body has met circumstances that cause your membranes to rupture a week early, your baby is still lying sunny-side up, and, of course, now your medical facility has even MORE RULES.

Or any of a gazillion other combinations and flavors but rest assured on the medical side there will be RULES.

Setting special circumstances aside for the moment, let us just consider physiological birth—birth as nature intended, interventions kept at the very minimum. It is still very much a challenging, emotionally demanding rollercoaster even when all is going as expected, and you are receiving optimal mother-friendly maternity care

Let’s get one thing straight, this is something your body can, and is designed to deal with—having the correct mind set about Birth is a huge bonus. It is doable—if you so chose. 

You will need to prepare yourself by having the necessary skill set and the right team at hand during your birth experience. You will need the means and the wherewithal to manipulate within the parameters of your environment.

No doubt— drugs are a quick relief for pain—an outside means of maintaining a semblance of control, and more and more women find themselves reaching for them, especially if they spend the end of their pregnancy and the beginning of labor being bombarded by interventions.

Most hospitals practice risk managed care rather than evidence based care, so the majority of American women have little recourse to the type of labor pain management that is gained through incorporating Yoga-Based Births Skills and other optimal care measures, such as a Doula, into their birth experiences.

In the majority of hospitals a laboring woman is put to bed and strapped to machines, she is not even given the recourse to utilize motility and gravity, so it is no wonder that the medicalization of birth has gone through the roof.

When a woman is not receiving optimal maternity care during her labor and delivery and is trying to physiologically work with her labor experience in a non-mother friendly environment it can quickly turn frustrating, overwhelming, and stressful. Coping at home quickly turns into suffering at the hospital.

Risk Managed Care—typically features the routine implementation of often unnecessary interventions. The medical world's way of grasping for control over the uncontrollable elements of Childbirth. Sadly, accepting this type of “care” often strips away the very elements of Labor and Delivery that are truly within a woman’s means to control.

A passive skill drill is our stand in for managed care. It is also a stand in for the decision to do nothing other than suffer through contractions. You will find that Labor skill drills quickly become more doable when you are allowed comfort measures, movement, and support.

Practice brings familiarity, ease of mind, and mastery of the skill.

The choice is yours to make: are you going to “lay there” in painful helplessness or are you going to do something about it? 

This is where having a lot of “tools in your kit” and the right team to implement them become not just a preference but a vital necessity.

A means of getting “control” of your birth experience back in your court, getting back to a calm positive mind set.

Fair warning— facilitating a “physiological” birth under risk-managed care may take a certain amount of circumvention, a little bit of deviance, and a mom-friendly nurse who often “looks the other way”.

Getting yourself back to calm and positive may instead require some medical help, they have their own tools and teams, and they are good at their jobs. 

But no matter your exact circumstance, Birth is going to require you to dig deep, surrender some amount of control, and to face the reality of your direct experience square on.

This post has mainly dealt with the reality you will most likely face as you leave the comfort of your home base and arrive at the hospital for the remainder of your birth experience. In later posts, I plan to discuss in more detail how to manage your way around managed-care.

For now, let’s carry on. I need to get my point across about the benefits of working from a base of actual reality and not just blindly believing the misinformation out there masquerading as iron clad rules.

You must arm yourself with the truth, in this series of posts you will also find several of my “favorite” examples. Misinformation about Childbirth abounds. I often find myself staggered by the depths.

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