Regular medical interventions during childbirth are the norm for hospital births. Physicians often err on the side of caution, which may contribute to the high c-section rate in the United States. Furthermore, in the hospital, it is common to keep women attached to heartbeat monitors that significantly impede the use of natural positions to progress labor. While laboring at home, you remain in control of your movements and positions throughout the labor process. If you are considering a home birth, here are three positions that often make labor progress faster while reducing pain.
Squatting With Support
Throughout history, women rarely laid on their back to give birth. In fact, this position was only adopted to give physicians quick, open access if assistance was needed during birth. Unfortunately, this was a self-fulfilling prophecy as this position combined with the use of stirrups actually increases the number of interventions needed. Furthermore, those factors increase the risk of perineal tears and need for extensions of episiotomy cuts.
With a home birth, you can take those issues out of the equation by assuming a natural, upright squatting position. You can sit in the squat position as long as it is comfortable, even while pushing the baby out. If you complete the birth in this position, your midwife will reach underneath to catch the baby as he or she exits the birth canal. While squatting, make sure to keep your hands on the edge of the bed to give yourself a bit extra support during contractions.
Leaning Over A Ball
Keep a couple birthing balls in your home birth toolkit for use during the early hours of labor. The two common types are the round and peanut shaped exercise balls. You can use the round ball during the early stages of labor to perform low-key stretches and exercises designed to reduce pain. You might want to gently bounce up and down on the ball in a sitting position or drape yourself over it to stretch out your back muscles. In addition to reducing pain, stability ball exercises may diminish stress and anxiety.
Bring out the peanut shaped ball to help labor progression continue while you are lying exhausted in bed. During these brief interludes, you can keep the pelvic outlet open and unobstructed by draping your legs over the ball. Your midwife may also suggest the use of this ball when it is necessary to turn the baby slightly to position his or her head toward the birth canal.
Lying In The Tub
You can lie in a tub of lukewarm water to significantly reduce pain and pressure while progressing through childbirth. The water will lift and suspend your body to eliminate pressure on your back, pelvis and perineal areas.
Babies born into a tub of water do not take their first breath until they are pulled out into the open air. As a result, it is an extremely safe and comfortable way to welcome your child into the world. Your midwife will monitor the condition of you and your baby to make sure you are both tolerating the water birth as expected.
Working With Your Midwife
Midwives, like those at the Women's Healthcare Associates LLC, allow you to remain in control of your labor positions and actions while standing by to provide support when needed. Your midwife may only need to interrupt your actions to check on the baby's heartbeat, position and progress down the birth canal. Your midwife will also check your vitals during these brief interruptions to make sure your body is responding properly to the birthing process. Only if serious complications arise will the midwife suggest heading into the hospital. Otherwise, you should be able to complete labor on your own terms while remaining at home.
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