Welcome to the second post of my mini series on childbirth and labor coping techniques I’ve learned during this beautiful nine-month journey! Last time, I talked about the power of distractions during early labor. This time, I’d like to share what my second step will be, when distractions don’t work anymore! The key with each of these steps is that you follow them until they can’t possibly distract you from your discomfort any longer. This way, you have tons of tools in your bag and go slowly through your tools, leaving lots to the end, when it may be hard for many of us. Don’t fly through your coping techniques. Really be purposeful about when you progress from one technique to the next.
So when distractions don’t work anymore, my second step (recommended to me by my wonderful childbirth class instructor) will be to pop in a relaxation/guided meditation CD (actually already loaded onto my iPhone so I can play it no matter where I am) and go through the CD of guided meditations…until that can’t possibly work for me anymore.
So for this second technique, I selected a guided meditation CD that we practiced with in class and that I really enjoyed. Check out this woman’s list of pregnancy-related guided meditation CDs here, or just pick out a guided meditation CD you like that relaxes you. It doesn’t necessarily have to be pregnancy or labor specific. I purchased the “Imagery and Meditations for Labor and Birth Preparation” CD, which is also available, I believe, as an iTunes download. One key to the success of this step is practicing with your CD from the moment you get it…our instructor suggested doing a meditation every day so you practice that deep relaxation. I have to admit I haven’t done it every day, but I have done it at least a few times a week and really enjoy it — even Hubby enjoys doing them along with me! Her voice is so soothing.
Make sure during any of these steps you are remaining limp through your contractions…as I learned, our only responsibility as birthing mothers (up until the pushing phase) is to remain limp and let our uterus work and bodies open up. When you tense up, you work against your contraction and also don’t release the pain — rather storing that energy in your muscles. So relax, breathe, and listen to your CD until you can’t possibly listen to it any longer.
Later this week I’ll talk about the breathing techniques and positions I will use during active labor and transition. As always, I can only share what I think might work for me, but as we all know none of us truly know what our experience during labor will be or what will work for us. I encourage you to do research, take a class, and find something that feels it will be a good fit for you!