Things got a little more serious this week and discussion focuses more and more on labor and birthing itself. From the stages of labor to birthing positions to help alleviate pain, there were some important topics to cover. Be sure to get your free birthing positions download cheat sheet too!
I am combining two classes again because they just go together so nicely. Class six discussed the second stage of labor and what to expect while class seven is all about preparing for birth, writing a birth plan, etc.. And guess what? At this point you are truly over half way done with preparing for your beautiful baby!
As always, I am not a doctor, nurse, or in the medical field. All posts are informative, based off of my experience in labor and birth, with my care providers, and on the Bradley classes that I attended. Please make informed decisions with your doctor, midwife, and/or any other care providers.
Like I said, this class was mainly about the second stage of labor. At this point, you should know that the first stage is broken into 3 parts (Early, main, and late/hard labor). The first stage all together lasts on average 10 hours and is the “relatively easy” part. The part that most women struggle with is Transition which is what take you to second stage. But, know that on average that part only lasts about 10-30 minutes. Then you’re in second stage! This stage is marked by calmness and determination because your baby is on its way out!
During transition, it is important for the coach to be very encouraging and help with relaxation as much as possible. One very important thing we learned about transition is that surrender is an important part of birth. The harder that you fight the pain, the harder it is to get past it. Give into the pain. You will survive. They even talk about this in The Business of Being Born. (Which is a great watch if you have not seen it… in fact they have some added videos for things like VBAC and all – all on Netflix. All informative and great resources).
How your body works:
– During transition:
- Contractions are one after another. They feel different (begin to be expulsive). They may even double peak.
- They are fast and intense.
- Emotionally crabby, stressed, confused, when you will most likely ask for meds.
- Physically nauseous, have cold feet and hot flashes, burps, shakes, sweats.
- In my midwife’s class, she mentioned this is when you are going to say thing you might never, ever say otherwise.
– During Second Stage:
- Expulsive type, but longer rest periods. This is why women in comas can give birth because their bodies are still laboring and contracting.
- Baby crowns, there is lots of stretching, and the baby rotates into final position.
- In one class the midwife showed how the head is birthed and the body rotates out.
- Some birth variations might require a certain birthing position for the head and then another for the body.
- Fetal Heimlich maneuver (This is when the perineium in its stretched state can actually expel the goop from your baby’s nose and mouth, making suctioning after birth unnecessary in some cases!)
- Baby is passed to mom to be placed on abdomen and should be kept level with placenta
- In a live childbirth class like with my midwives, coaches might actually learn how to catch and pass baby to mom. For instance in the final midwife home birth class with my second, my husband was taught how to catch if mom birthed on hands and knees and then how to pass baby up under through the legs. [So glad, because this actually happened!]
- Breastfeeding, cut cord, expulsion of placenta
- Placenta can take awhile to be birthed. Breastfeeding helps.
- Reintroduce sugars to blood stream. Walk soon w/ support even if it is just to the bathroom and back.
- Take a sitz bath with herbs to help yourself heal and to get you up, moving, and then circulation flowing.
This week also talked about birthing positions to use during the second stage. I have already discussed squatting with you extensively. But did you know that if your poor ankles just can’t handle it, you can give birth in a somewhat modified version? Obviously, gravity is better, but if you can’t, if the bed is set at an angle and you pull your chin down and legs back (without stretch knees outward), you are creating the same “C” shape which is still better for your body and the baby. This is something my chiropractor taught me and worked with me on because I have weak ankles.
Whatever position you choose for second stage, there are certain basic guidelines for effective birthing.
- Knees back with elbows up and out- this shortens the vagina and lessens the tension on the perineum.
- Chin on chest- closes the glottis, increases intra-abdominal pressure, and aligns the baby and uterus with the pelvis.
- Curved spine (do not arch your back)- so that the baby can come through the pelvis.
I worked on compiling information from medical and midwifery sources online to compile a chart for you to help figure out what you like and to have on hand during labor (free download). Sometimes it’s nice to have when you know your baby is posterior or your are having a certain amount of pain and need a better birthing position to alleviate those discomforts.
Create a Birth Plan! Since you now know about labor, you should know at least what to expect, what your options are, and what you would prefer. SO GET IT ON PAPER! This is a great way to communicate with your doctor, midwife, doula, family, etc. as to what you are expecting during delivery. It is also something great to have at the time of birth so if you have nurses, they are also well-informed.
Make sure that this is positive communication. There is no point in upsetting anyone because they will probably upset you in return.
So ask questions for informed consent on everything the doctors and nurses want to do. (Know both sides basically). Know your options. Write out what you and your partner want. Prepare for a positive experience and be flexible. Here is my rough draft if you’re interested. (The teacher in me knows that it needs to be broken down into sections and people and it needs to have visual cues). This will be posted on our hospital room door along with a sign reminding all who enter that they are entering into a special time and they are asked to keep it calm, peaceful, quiet, and special. We would have had this at our home birth… but I wasn’t expecting any packages so we were good. (And thank goodness the dog didn’t bark!)
This week may also be a good time to start packing your bags if you have not already done so.
How did I do on a few parts of the homework?
- Walking at least 30 minutes per day (and then 35)– again, the easiest way to accomplish this is implement it into your errands. For goodness sakes, I made a 5 minute walmart trip a 45 minute one… but I got it done :). The mile indicator is still a pretty good one.
- Epi-No – It is VERY interesting to use. I can really see where it’s going to prepare me for the “ring of fire” and also help with stretching and not tearing. And because I suck at Kegels, it’s helping me understand what my body is really doing because of the gauge on it.
- Tailor sitting often—still should be easy and more comfortable than most other positions by now.
- Squat often—I am sure you’re getting the hang of it now. I have almost completely replaced bending at the waist at this point. Though it is still tempting, I do squat.
- Butterfly stretch with tension still 10x per day—This is becoming increasingly important. If you do not think you can give birth in the squatting position, you are going to need strength in your legs and be able to pull them back.
- Make sure that you are also taking your calcium and prenatals! Vitamin C was the focus of next week , so research what has the most. This might be important the day you go into labor to help you and baby not bleed and to recover faster. My favorite vitamin C source is Kiwi.
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living on a farm in New England. She believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience and has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development. She is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!