TOP 6 Tips and Tricks to a Smooth Labor and Delivery
TOP 6 Tips and Tricks to a Smooth Labor and Delivery
So, you became pregnant (yay!). You then went through all the ups (and sometimes, downs) that go along with growing an itty bitty human inside your belly. Your body is teeming with emotions as you approach your due date; Excitement, anticipation, fear, happiness, sadness, elation, nervousness, fatigue, serenity and perhaps determination. As you sort through all of those and see the light at the end of the tunnel, you envision your labor and delivery. If you are like every other pregnant gal on the planet, you know someone that has given birth, and they have shared their birth story with you. This is where most new moms panic! Maybe they had an amazing, peaceful birth experience…..Perhaps they had a stressful, complicated delivery. Either way, take it with a grain of salt. You are you, and your birth experience will be partly what you make of it. So, here are our TOP 6 tips and tricks to having the best birth experience possible!
#1 Eat Healthy and Exercise
Eating the right foods during your pregnancy not only helps your body stay on track, it also helps keep your baby healthy. For example, gaining too much weight might contribute to the development of Gestational Diabetes, where there are high level of blood glucose (sugar) in the blood. This condition must be monitored closely by a doctor and dietary changes and/or medications are needed to control the situation. Babies born to mom’s with Gestational Diabetes have an increased risk of being overweight and of possible shoulder damage during delivery, among other health complications. Gaining too litlle weight (under 20 lbs - with the exception of overweight ladies that can safely gain under 20 lbs under supervision of their doctors), can also cause some complications with the developing baby. The babies may be born with low birth weight, may be born prematurely and might be exposed to growth limitations in the uterus.
Being healthy helps prevent complications during pregnancy but also during delivery as well. Overweight babies can have difficulties passing through the birth canal, leading to an emergency c-section. Premature babies may have developmental issues, might have troubles breathing on their own and may need to be in NICU to help them stabilize. Preventing the need for medical interventions during your delivery helps ensure a smooth labor experience. If you are having issues with weight gain or difficulty putting on weight, talk to your health care provider and see what can be done to help.
#2 Educate Yourself
Nervous? Anxious? That’s normal! We all have a fear of the unknown and especially if it’s your first pregnancy. So what can you do? Educate yourself! Go to birth classes, read up on some birthing books, scour the internet (wisely - there is often more than you need out there in cyberspace!) and talk to friends/family. The more you know about the experience, the more prepared you will feel. Keep in mind that everyone’s experience is unique to them but feeling a sense of calm and readiness before you go into labor will set the mood for a great birth experience.
#3 Chiropractic Care
More and more ladies these days are turning to Chiropractic care during their pregnancies - and for good reason! Research has shown that moms that are adjusted during their pregnancies note a significant reduction in pain during labor as well as a shorter duration of labor and delivery. Adjustments are gentle, safe, effective and help align the pelvis so that the baby has space to grow and develop properly during the pregnancy. Your chiropractor may use the Webster Technique, which is a chiropractic technique developed to focus on balancing the pelvis and uterus to ensure optimal results during labor and delivery while also eliminating pain during pregnancy and at time of childbirth. At time of delivery, properly aligned hips allow for the baby to descend more easily through the birth canal, reducing pain and discomfort and speeding up the process.
#4 Stay Active
It’s been proven that laying on your back during labor is one of the worst and counterproductive positions to be in. Space in the birth canal is reduced by about ⅓, limiting space for baby to pass through, and making it more difficult for them (and you!). The solution? Get up and move!! Walking and moving will help get and keep labor progressing. When you stop moving and lay down, usually labor stalls and that can be incredibly frustrating. So dance, wiggle, do laps, bounce on an exercise ball - get baby out! Also, your birthing position has a huge impact on the smoothness of your labor and delivery. Try to be in positions that encourage gravity to help bring baby out and aid in opening up your pelvis. Things like squatting, on all fours and on your side. The goal is to get baby out as smoothly, effortlessly and painlessly as possible.
#5 Keep an Open Mind
You’ve heard this before - Attitude is everything! If you go into your labor and delivery with excitement, a sense of calm and a positive attitude, odds are you’ll probably have a great experience - even if there are hiccups along the way. If you go into it afraid and expecting the worse - it will probably not go as planned. Being focused helps and having a birth plan is a great way to share your wishes with your healthcare provider without having to verbalize those during labor. So start working on one early so you get a chance to communicate your wishes and do research regarding what you want. The most important thing? Have an open mind! It’s easy to get thrown off your game when a hiccup occurs that you weren’t expecting. If you panic, complications will probably present themselves. If you take it in stride, odds are your labor will keep progressing as smooth as silk.
#6 Support System
Think about your friends and family, and be honest. Do any of them stress you out? Do any of them help walk you off the ledge? When considering who to have present at your birth, ask yourself who your go-to person is that helps calm you down. Labor is intense. It’s real. It can be complicated. It’s exhausting. You need to surround yourself with people that support you, that can keep you focused, that motivate you and give you the extra push you need to cross the finish line!
By following these TOP 6 Tips and Tricks to a Smooth Labor, we hope that your pregnancy and delivery are as amazing as you are!
NOTE ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr. Rachel Rising is the owner of Bibs and Binkies as well as a Pediatric and Prenatal Chiropractor, practicing in Bozeman, MT at Gallatin Valley Chiropractic. She is certified in the Webster Technique and works closely with local OBGYNs and Midwives to help support healthy pregnancies and facilitate more natural and uncomplicated deliveries.