Your water just broke! Now you have to rush to the hospital because at any point your baby is just going to pop out! Well this might be how it goes in movies but in real life things are a little different (just a little).
First of all, in most cases, labor doesn’t start with your water breaking. This can happen much later on, or not at all. Second, it takes a bit longer than a couple of hours to birth a baby…. Every woman and every pregnancy is different but usually if it’s your first baby, a total of 18 hours or more is more or less what you can expect….
And no it’s not 18 hours of pushing and screaming, etc… The common image of labour is very different from reality and women are afraid of giving birth because they don’t believe in their bodies’ capacity to do so.
We have been giving birth since the beginning of time. If there is something that our female bodies know how to do instinctively, it is pushing a baby out. Given of course that we don’t get in the way with our fears, thoughts, and general approach of birth.
Prepare for Labor In The three stages:
- The first one is the dilation. It starts with your first contractions and ends when your cervix is fully dilated. This is the longest part of labour, and the contractions become more frequent and more intense as the dilation progresses. Your body will do all the work here, and you will need to do everything you can to support it and help your cervix to relax and open. It means, resting or sleeping to keep your energy, eating if you feel hungry (dates are a must!), walking, taking a hot bath, doing some yoga exercises, breathing with each contraction and relaxing in between. As you approach the end of this first stage, the contractions will be intense and close together but you can go through it with some breathing techniques and the support of your partner, your midwife or your doula.
- The second stage of labor is the pushing part! Now that you are fully dilated, the baby’s head is going to engage in your vagina, and you will need to push with each contraction. Nature was doing things right again and you will normally feel an urge to push at this stage and it will feel “good” to follow that instinct. This stage finishes when your baby is fully born! Congratulations!
- The last stage is the birth of the placenta, it usually happens within 20 minutes after the birth of your baby. You will experience some painless contractions and the placenta will be delivered! You did it!
Natural ways to induce labor
If your pregnancy is going smoothly and you want to have a normal natural birth, make sure you are surrounding yourself with a good support team. A doctor or midwife that you know and trust, maybe a doula to give you extra support, and of course your partner if you wish to experience this amazing event together.
In this article, I will teach you some pregnancy stretches to prepare for labor to ease the pain and help your body do its best work.
4 Easy Pregnancy Stretches To Prepare For Labor Infographic
All Hips Movement on all four or against the wall
You can choose to be on all four or standing next to a wall, hands on the wall, depending on what feels better for you.
The point here is to let the hips move freely to release any tensions and help the cervix to open. Circles, wiggles, rocking side to side, figure-8 shapes. Let your body lead the way and do what feels best for you.
Table Top Pose Variation - one leg to the side
From a Table Top position, open one leg to the side, foot flat on the floor, and let your hips move freely here too. Back and front, circles, side to side. In this posture, the diameter of your pelvis is the widest possible so this posture can be helpful if the head of the baby is having difficulty to pass through the pelvis.
Wobble for a couple of breaths, walking with your feet pointing outward. Then on an exhale, bend deeply your knees, creating a dropping motion with your hips to help the baby’s head to lower down and support the labor process. This exercise will help to keep the hips open and relaxed.
Breathings - Ujjayi and Golden Thread
The first breathing technique is called Ujjayi Breathing. Sitting in a comfortable position, start by deepening your inhalations and exhalations, squeezing your throat a bit so that the air creates an ocean sound with each breath. Let the rest of the body relax and apply this breathing during 10 to 15 cycles. This will help you to connect with your body and stay relaxed.
The second breathing technique is called the Golden thread. Inhale deeply through the nose and exhale slowly through your mouth as if your breath was a delicate golden thread that you are blowing out. This breathing will help you to handle the intensity of the contractions, exhaling slowly every time a contraction comes.
Featured Video:Fun Pregnancy Exercise & Stretches To Prepare For Labor
The more you practice those exercises and breathing techniques before the birth, the easier it will be to apply them during your labour. Maybe practice with your partner too, so that he can help you stay focused and offer you to use a particular breathing technique or position when the intensity of the birth will put you in a state close to a trance.
I also recommend you to read about as many positive birth stories as you can during the last trimester. This will help you to have your mind filled with powerful joyful experiences instead of scary ones. Positive thinking brings positive outcomes. The book “A guide to childbirth” by Ina May is a great book to read during pregnancy.