Your baby is waiting to meet you! Labor and child delivery can seem daunting, and it’s natural to have concerns. However, there are ways to stack the odds in your favor of having child delivery of your dreams, by using visualization, hypnobirthing, breathing techniques, optimal labor positions, and essential oils.
Your Mindful Labor and Child Delivery
A mindful approach to labor and child delivery is a flexible one so you can meet your baby with joy. Using these positive advice will give you all the strength and resilience to have an empowered child delivery experience.
Read through this article in the weeks before you are due to give child delivery so you can consider all the mindful advice available to you. Think about some of the advice so you can see what you think will work best for you.
The way you think about pain changes how you experience the sensations of labor. The brain interprets those sensations based on your emotions, experience, culture, and expectations. Your thoughts can intensify those sensations or reduce them. A mindful approach to labor and pain means you do not resist the sensations of labor, which just causes more pain, but you approach them with an open and curious attitude. “I want this” can be a great mantra in labor.
Notice the places in your body where you feel the sensations the most … can you allow those sensations to rise and fall like the ocean? Each wave is fairly different, and each wave will require you to draw on your instincts, encouraging you to move your body in a certain way, or to breathe more deeply. When you listen mindfully to what’s happening in your body, you can hear what your baby is asking of you.
In the event that an unexpected complication arises, this mindful preparation for child delivery will significantly improve your experience during labor and your recovery afterwards.
An undisturbed child delivery
To optimize labor hormones and your natural pain-relieving brain chemicals, such as oxytocin, there are certain conditions that must be met. Child delivery experts refer to this as an “undisturbed” child delivery. Like other mammals, we need privacy, warmth, dim lighting, and feelings of safety and support so we can turn off our “thinking” brain and allow our instincts to take over.
When the conditions of an undisturbed child delivery are provided for a laboring mom, her progress is likely to be quicker and less painful. Anxiety and stress cause the brain to release adrenaline, which blocks oxytocin, so the calmer you are in labor, the less painful your labor is likely to be.
Working with labor sensations
Have you ever banged your elbow and then rubbed it quickly? By rubbing it, you created a competing sensation that reached a neurological “gate” in the spine and closed the gate, reducing your pain perception. Massage during labor, a water child delivery, and a TENS machines all use this “gating” system of pain perception to compete with the pain signals of labor.
There are many effective ways to manage labor sensations naturally, but if you find you need additional support with medication, such as Entonox (gas or air), pethidine, diamorphine, remifentanil, or an epidural, allow yourself the grace to make that choice without guilt. A mindful pregnancy becomes a mindful labor when you are compassionate towards the unfolding experience.
A mindful cesarean
A cesarean child delivery involves major abdominal surgery, but for a small number of mothers this is the safest option. A cesarean can still be a mindful experience, especially if it’s a planned one. Explore some child delivery preferences with your health-care provider that can make a clinical, medical experience into a more family-centered celebration of your baby’s arrival.
The first stage of labor
This is usually the longest stage, especially for a first-time mother. Your cervix is thinning and you begin to dilate. Mindfully conserving your energy will be important in the early stages. Gentle yoga stretches, slow breathing, and hypnobirthing facilitate the optimal hormone release to progress your labor naturally as you and your baby journey together.
The second stage of labor
This is the pushing stage when your body starts to nudge your baby along the birth canal. Although many moms feel quite tired at this point, your body naturally releases adrenaline to give you an energy boost. This stage of labor is usually accompanied by feelings of intense and almost irresistible pressure rather than pain, as your body begins the final stage before you meet your baby.
The length of this stage can be influenced by your position, your baby’s position, and the use of an epidural, which may make this stage longer. If you are mobile, your midwife can help you into a supported squat, all fours, or side-lying position.
Your midwife will remind you to try not to push as your baby’s head is starting to crown so the emergence of your baby’s head can be as slow and controlled as possible. You may be encouraged to pant or blow as you are gently blowing out a candle to help you to stay focused during these brief few moments.
Mother-led mindful pushing rather than coached, cheerleading-style pushing is beneficial to you and your baby as you are following cues from your body to bear down at the right time instead of holding your breath for long periods. When tuned into the sensations of your body, you may instinctively move your legs closer together as your baby’s head emerges.
Mindfully meeting your baby
The child delivery room can get very busy, so when you’re getting close to the moment of child delivery, your child delivery partner may want to ask for quiet in the room. You can also ask for a deliberate “pause” once your baby is placed skin-to-skin with you. During this time the cord can be left unclamped as you meet your baby, and you can listen to a specially chosen piece of music, or your child delivery partner can read a poem or prayer to celebrate the arrival of your baby.
The third stage of labor
During this stage the placenta and membrane are delivered. Talk to your midwife about your options based on your individual experience: if you’ve had a mindful child delivery and all is well, a natural third stage makes sense as you bask in oxytocin and endorphins, drinking in these precious moments.
In some cultures, the cord is not clamped at all if parents choose an intact child delivery—allowing the placenta to stay attached to the baby for a little while after child delivery. The cutting of the cord symbolizes the end of your pregnancy, and for some parents, taking time to recognize and reflect on this symbolic moment is important.
Alternatively, you can choose a lotus child delivery, where the placenta stays attached to your baby for several days until the cord dries and naturally separates. In this case the placenta will need to be professionally treated with herbs as it is an organ that you’ll carry with your baby for a few days.
The “golden hour”
The first hour after child delivery is a neurologically sensitive time for bonding, with massive brain activity in both mother and baby. During this quiet, undisturbed time, cuddle your baby skin-to-skin. Your baby may instinctively find your breast and latch on, and all routine checks can be postponed until after your baby has had her first feed.
Essential Oils for Labor
Choose an oil or oils that facilitate emotional relaxation but also help with focus and stamina. In labor, use one or two drops on a tissue that you or your child delivery partner can hold, so you can discard it if it’s overwhelming.
Research suggests when lavender is used during labor women have less pain and nausea and it can help to reduce anxiety. Jasmine can help relieve pain, and frankincense encourages deep, slow breathing.
As labor progresses and you feel the need to mobilize, citrus oils such as lemon and orange can be stimulating. If it feels as if you can’t manage those last pushes, then peppermint oil is ideal as it increases focus. As your baby’s sense of smell is heightened right after child delivery to facilitate bonding with you, use just a few drops of peppermint oil on a tissue or cotton wool ball and discard before your baby arrives.
Homeopathic Remedies for Labor
Homeopathic practitioners advise taking remedies before and during labor to help alleviate any emotional challenges, such as worry or lack of confidence, as well as any physical ones, such as tiredness or backache.
There are a number of homeopathic remedies you can take, and different remedies may be needed or combined depending on how your labor progresses. For example, taking Arnica Montana during labor will minimize bruising and bleeding. Aconitum is advised for fear and anxiety during labor especially if the surges are very close together. Chamomilla is recommended for slow dilation and backache in labor.