Looking for tips to reduce discomfort during labor? Our friend, Doula and #FarmMama Olivyah Bowens (@herholisticpath) is sharing her secrets!
So you’re pregnant and maybe you’ve heard this word “doula” being thrown around by other moms. A doula is a trained birth support specialist who uses non-medical techniques to reduce discomfort in labor, provide emotional support and offer guidance and helpful education.
In short, doulas are the people who help you navigate your journey of pregnancy, birth and postpartum so you can have the best experience possible.
As a doula and a mother, I’ve been on the side of birthing a baby and supporting someone who is birthing a baby. Having experienced both sides, I can confidently say that getting through the intensity of labor has everything to do with how you prepare your mind. That’s right, not a million squats, preparing your mind!
We as humans are naturally wired to run away from and to avoid pain at all costs. This mechanism normally keeps us safe and helps us to avoid injuries. Yet, in birth this can work against us. If we attempt to avoid the pain, we inevitably create more discomfort. Since there is no way to actually run away from your own body, the typical response is to tense the muscles, flex back and look away from the source of discomfort. This tension on top of an already contracting uterus is what creates large amounts of pain. So when we respond to a contraction by screaming, tensing and pulling away, we are effectively amplifying the discomfort of the contraction.
The key is to re-train your body and mind’s response to discomfort. This may sound ridiculous but consider how humans respond to pain in other scenarios such as getting a tattoo, working out at the gym or running a marathon. In these instances we are telling ourselves to “breathe through it.”
Read on (or watch) for tips* to reduce pain and discomfort during each stage of labor!
*We hope these tips are helpful during labor but be sure to review with your birthing team ahead of time.
More from @herholisticpath…
Although I focus on using different positions, essential oils, and other relaxation techniques, the mothers I have assisted who have the smoothest and calmest birth experiences are the ones who mentally prepare themselves throughout their pregnancy. While I teach many people the techniques to use to prepare themselves, it is ultimately up to the birthing person on how diligent they will be. The more you train the mind to remain calm, the easier it is to tap into that calming energy while in labor. You want to have practiced finding the space of riding each contraction like a wave so that when it’s happening, your mind and body already know what to do. Not only does this help you to perceive less pain, but it can help your body create more oxytocin which can lead to a shorter labor.
I encourage all birthing people to commit to at least one form of birth preparation that targets reprogramming the mind for birth. Having seen the difference it made in my births and with clients, I must say it’s worth a try!
Thanks for reading! We support and respect birth in all forms and wish you and your family lots of love and a big congratulations on your baby-to-be! Comment below if you have any tips to share!