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Labor Coping Techniques/Stuff?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'm starting this thread for purely selfish reasons, but maybe it will be useful for others as well smile.gif (Also, forgive me if one like this was started earlier, but now that I'm getting close, it's all feeling much more pertinent/pressing)

So -- what are your ideas for coping during labor? Is there anything I should have on hand? What has worked well for our mamas who've had their babies already? Really, with DD, what was most useful was just walking/swaying/rocking, so maybe I won't need any other acoutrement, but I did get the epi with her at 8cm. This is what I have:

-a shower
-fishy pool
-heating pad
-birth ball
- horse lips/low-open sounds

I think I could get one of those vibrating back genie things pretty easily & I'm thinking about making some rice socks for the freezer and microwave.
post #2 of 8

Good idea for a thread.... Even though I've been through this before, I'm always game for more ideas!  I've used (or plan to have on hand for use) ideas you've already listed... so I'd love to hear if others have more suggestions!

post #3 of 8

For me, I was fine without this stuff until 8-9 cm, then it was suddenly bad enough that I don't think anything would have made a huge difference . . . but here are my two cents :) I was in the birth tub FWIW, the way James was positioned I couldn't sit on the ball or rock or sway or any of that -- nothing where I was at all seated.  So my biggest advice would be have a back-up coping/positioning plan!

 

- Cold washcloth on my face felt really good and was kind of distracting, in a good way.

 

- Light touch massage helped a lot in the beginning, helped less but still helped at the end.  DH was running his fingers down my side or on my shoulders or arms - the way you touch someone to give them the shivers, just very light with fingertips.  Apparently this occupies some of the pain receptors so that they can't register pain, and helps release oxytocin.  I liked it, and it was something DH could do that was useful, kept him close, and wasn't tiring.  Also it never got annoying, so that was nice!

 

- Water in a squeeze top bottle would have been great, we used a big cup with a straw but DH said that I was never really in a good position to drink from the straw, it kept bending closed or the end would be out of the water or he would almost spill the water on me trying to angle the cup so that I could reach. Nice for this water to be fridge cold but not ice cold.

 

- MW gave me one of those sports candies right at the end, I think you can get them at Sports Authority, or maybe Target - they have sugar and electrolytes and are pretty flavorful, dissolve quicker than a normal hard candy.  Mine was raspberry or something, it tasted SO good at that moment. 

 

- Someone was massaging my feet between contractions and it helped me relax and get to the point where I was somewhat asleep between being raging contractions. Looking back I really can't believe that was possible, but it was! amazing human body! Not a true massage, more like slow, firm squeezing at the body of the foot, where the arch is, and squeezing the heel. It felt amazing when any other touch was awful. 

 

- What didn't help me at all was counter pressure on my low back, it just intensified my pain and the MWs kept trying it and I kept saying 'don't touch my back!' Lighter circular massage on the whole back was ok, just couldn't have any pressure. 

 

I'm so excited for the new mamas and I am really looking forward to hearing birth stories from the soon to be new mamas!!  lots of luck and good vibes to you all!

post #4 of 8

- hip squeezes...really, really hard.

- humming (along the lines of horse lips, but I made this humming noise that is akin to a certain type of yoga breath that made my cheeks vibrate)

- chewing ice

- I preferred ice to heat

- real massage (my doula is an LMT; she released my hips and sacrum a lot during labor)

 

 

I had an epidural during "hard" labor, but I also had a ton of breakthrough pain, so everyone called in "the natural birth with an epidural" because of all of the coping it required. If you made it to 8cm without an epi, I think you will do great! I made it to 7cm without and then also pushed without it.

post #5 of 8
I'd just like to pipe in with information that would have really helped me the first time around: There is nothing wrong with you or your coping strategies if you experience pain that can't be 'coped' with. Reaching the point where you don't think you can do it any more is perfectly normal. Coping works well for 90% of labor in my experience. For me, a rough 10% surrendering to pain that is beyond me. I honestly felt like such a 'failure' at birth when I had that experience the first time around- that experiencing that level of pain meant I was doing something wrong, but I can now look back and see how beautifully I did for my first birth.

Even with that experience, it was forgotten as soon as my amazing baby boy was put on my chest. I honestly had forgotten what we were working for!
post #6 of 8
In early labor, both times I worked. It just gave me something to do and complete distraction.

What helped Me during active labor with my first was really positive affirmations from DH. Like you are doing great, and your body is meant to do this. I also listened to music on my iPod to tune out anything external.

DH used strong counter pressure during ctx on my back because DS was posterior.

Not happy hypnobirthing approved thoughts ahead!

But when I was pushing, I had double ctx, and they hurt like a b----. Totally caught off guard from that, and I focused on two things: how it felt when it was over, and the fact that people don't die simply from being in excruciating pain. And I squeezed my MW's hand really hard.
post #7 of 8

This might sound nuts, but before I started my labor, I asked my midwife to be sure and TELL ME when I hit transition. I knew that that was as bad as it was going to get. WHen she told me, I remember thinking, "Okay, as long as it's not going to get WORSE from here, I'm going to be alright." It really, really helped. 

 

I also found that I was pulling on door frames a lot, and that seemed helpful. I would say that listening to my body was the #1 most important and valuable thing I did in my first labor (even if my body was saying to do some crazy stuff, like PUSH ON THAT WALL AS HARD AS I CAN).

 

For this labor...we'll see. I'm hoping to labor in the tub.

post #8 of 8

People have listed lots of great tools already! What really helped me was to concentrate on only one contraction at a time. Even during transition, I could tell myself that I only had to do this for a few more breaths, and you can do anything for that long. Then, between contractions, I really focused on relaxing completely, enjoying the break and not thinking about the next contraction at all if I could. I also focused on not tensing up, keeping my face relaxed, and when I needed to make noise, keeping it low. I'm not sure it really helped with the discomfort but it gave me something I could control to focus on.

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