Labor Preparation

Labor is often compared to running a marathon because successful completion of such a race requires strength, endurance, and discipline.

People decide to start running all the time but hardly anyone gets up that first morning and decides their very first run is going to be competing in the Pittsburgh Marathon.

You shouldn’t face the birth of your child that way either, deciding to wing labor on the day. Both approaches vastly narrow the odds that either experience will be anything more than an uphill battle.

Instead, if you decide to behave like a successful marathoner, you will have prepared yourself well, worked out a system and set some coping strategies—above all challenging yourself to achieve a calm positive birth for your baby, something that is right within your grasp and definitely yours to control.

It is perfectly normal to expect some performance anxiety before your big day, but once the “whistle blows” and your contractions begin, because you have prepared accordingly, all extraneous thoughts are swept from your mind, you are focused, determined, sure of the job.

You repeat your systematic strategy— landmark after landmark, mile after mile, contraction after contraction, centimeter by centimeter and before you know it the race is complete and you are left holding your baby barely even registering your exhaustion.

Let’s start talking about how you can accomplish a birth experience that you can look back on with satisfaction, empowerment, and joy.

The first steps are:

1.  Assembling a team that will give you the best opportunity to receive mother-friendly Optimal Maternity care for you and your baby.
2.  Hire a BIRTH DOULA. Continuous labor support from someone who is NOT a hospital staff member and NOT part of your social network is an evidence-based opportunity to       better outcomes for you and your baby. We deserve our own post: Birth Doulas are Yoga.
3.  Enroll in Childbirth education classes. Find the one that will give you the best opportunity to achieve a calm positive birth in your chosen location.
4.  Develop a Prenatal Yoga practice. These classes will both prepare you for labor and will keep your body comfortable while you are pregnant.

As soon as contractions begin you begin. In Labor as in Yoga, you come as you are and both of them expect you to start right now. It pays to have prepared wisely.

You need to initiate the practice of applying appropriate positive action as your response to each and every contraction, starting with Braxton-Hicks type contractions.

This is the type of focus that will enable you to stay in control of the physical sensations and mental emotions of labor.

When you realize exactly what Birth is asking of your body then you will realize how to successfully incorporate Yoga-Based Pain Management Skills into your birth experience.

Knowledge truly is power.

Having the right answers at this point will not only optimize your emotional experience it will enable you to work through the physical demands of Labor accomplishing both in a calm and positive manner.

For some women simply knowing that contractions work to position the baby and to dilate the cervix is enough, just like knowing that running is continuing to put one foot swiftly in front of the other. I am not one of those women. The Whole Way believes that how you chose to respond to either task makes all the difference. Read more in this post: Practice Makes Perfect

I fall into the camp of those who think that to do this job well you need to know more. I would rather a client feel over prepared than under prepared. I am working on filling “The Whole Way” with the knowledge necessary to make skillful competent responses to whatever course your particular birth experience takes.

The regret and remorse that comes from looking back and thinking “If only I had known what to expect and what my options truly were” are not the feelings I want my readers or clients to experience.

You may still have had to make the same choice, but you will understand why, making it YOUR choice, and that knowledge will give you the confidence that your decision was the best one for you and your baby.

Making decisions from a position of right knowledge is the recipe for looking back at your birth experience with the satisfaction that comes from a well-run marathon.

There are many natural birth advocates who believe that fear plays a huge role in a woman’s birth experience and that the elimination of fear can lead to a less painful birth.

Taking the time to prepare yourself well will give you the power to shift your experience from a more painful birth to a less painful one. Removing the fear of the unknown is a big step forward in the right direction and will improve your birth experience.

The first thing to learn is the physiology of Labor, it is vital that you understand what is going on during the last weeks of your pregnancy. Your body is readying itself for the birth of your baby through a slow process that steadily builds up towards active labor.

So in the next post we will dive right in.

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