"You've lost that loving feeling, whoa ohhh that loving feeling!"- Righteous Brothers. Anyone remember that classic!? Sadly, many labouring mums experience a loss of that cosy, loving feeling during one of the most monumental times of their life. The absolute truth is that your labour does not need to feel devoid of the very thing that keeps it moving along!
Labour comfort measures are something all expectant parents and support persons can easily learn during pregnancy. They are a set of tools and techniques that can be used at home or in hospital during all stages of labour. They not only provide comfort for mum during labour, they also help mum feel supported, cared for, safe and loved. When a labouring mum feels all of these things, she's more calm and her body naturally releases more oxytocin.
Oxytocin is often called the love hormone or shy hormone because it is produced during some of our most intimate moments, namely sex (the big o!) and birth! If oxytocin is flowing consistently during labour, things are more likely to keep progressing- meaning dilation and descent of baby. Oxytocin is behind those uterine surges (contractions) that help bring baby into the world. Alternatively, if a mum feels unsafe, threatened or uncomfortable with her surroundings, oxytocin production can slow and adrenalin increases. This can lead to labour "stalling" or progressing at a slower rate. Adrenalin is a stress response and puts the breaks on oxytocin- and that's something we definitely don't want during early and active labour.
The comfort measures I teach in my workshops are designed to help expectant mums plus their birth partner feel more confident, calm and prepared as they enter labour. Entering labour with more knowledge and ways to reduce anxiety and the intensity of surges can help create a more gentle experience for everyone. Lots of times birth partners have said to me that they definitely want to help and support the expectant mum but they have no clue HOW! There is so much more that can be done beyond hand holding! In the workshop we go over massage and counter pressure techniques, ways to reduce the intensity of back labour, supported labour positions, ways to encourage labour progression if mum is lying down and overall how to communicate better on the big day! Every mum is different and one may think she won't like a specific technique in labour and then be pleasantly surprised that actually, that does sound like a good idea in the moment. This is why I teach parents everything and not just bits and pieces!
The techniques taught may be used during all stages and types of labour- unmedicated, medicated, induction, hospital birth, home birth and with epidural use. Those who have attended my workshops have gone away more confident and with a better sense of what to expect. Ultimately, I want expectant mums with birth partners of all types (partner, husband, sister, friend, mum) to leave feeling like they are a true team who can face any possible birth situation together!
My next comfort measure workshop times are below- one is being held at The Pilates Room in Castletroy and the other is being held at Your Yoga Centre in Corbally. You must pre-register by contacting me (or Tel: 083 810 8212) for either of the classes as spots are limited! I will NOT be holding a workshop in August so if your guess date is in August or even early September, I urge you to book into one of the workshops below. If you're reading this blog past these dates, please check out my facebook page for a list of upcoming events!