relaxing during contractions? - Mothering Forums
February 2010 > relaxing during contractions?
jabeen's Avatar jabeen 10:13 AM 02-20-2010
I THINK I'm in labor. I've been having contractions that really hurt (can't talk through) every 10 minutes or so for the last couple hours. I'm having a hard time following the advice I've read about welcoming/embracing contractions, and relaxing through contractions. I feel I'm getting tense and am trying to think of a strategy to relax. I've been breathing hard/blowing out through the contractions and last time I tried sort of a mantra "I can do this, I can do this" and rocking, and that seemed to help a bit. Anyone have any other advice or tips?
Ugh just got hit with another contraction, so much harder than I thought it would be!!!!! It HURTS!!!!

Plarka's Avatar Plarka 10:47 AM 02-20-2010
I have some relaxation techniques I'm going to try from my hypnobirthing book:

Breathe in quickly counting to four, then exhale counting to 8

Breathe in long breaths counting to 20 and then the same to breathe out.


Visualize yourself lying on a bed of red, strawberry scented mist. It envelops your head, neck, shoulders, torso, legs, feet....then do the same going through all the colors of the rainbow.

Visualise the alphabet going across in your mind like this: AAA BBB CCC DDD and once you're through a few letters, let them disappear as you go to the next ones.

Keep your face and jaw relaxed.

I don't know if these work, haven't tried it in labor yet!
womenswisdom's Avatar womenswisdom 10:51 AM 02-20-2010
DDCC since I see you haven't yet had any responses...

I would suggest a warm bath, eat and drink something, make sure you keep peeing (like every hour). Movement during contractions usually helps too - sway your hips, like you're hula-hooping, kneel down and lean over the seat of the couch and swing your hips, do big circles on a birth ball, get on hands and knees and move your hips. Also, it's okay to vocalize - moan, moo, hum, whatever you need to do. Focus inward and go "under" the pain, let it wash over you're underwater in the ocean. You know the wave is above you but it doesn't really affect you.

Where are you feeling the most uncomfortable - in the back or the front? You're doing great and at some point it will start to feel different - sometimes I think early labor is harder in a way because you don't have all the "good" labor hormones that sort of alter your consciousness yet and you're too much in your head. You can do it! You ARE doing it! Soon you'll be meeting your baby
basje's Avatar basje 11:07 AM 02-20-2010
They are intense these contractions, and you will ride through every single one. Every single contraction is your baby coming closer to you. If you feel like you're really getting slammed you can try laying down for a little while or to get things going try to walk around a bit. Try sitting on the toilet and leaning forward onto someone in a hug. You will get through these, promise. Keep breathing, take them one at a time, you have nothing to be afraid of. You are laboring with thousands of women today, draw on their strength.
leila1213's Avatar leila1213 11:10 AM 02-20-2010
Originally Posted by Plarka View Post
Breathe in long breaths counting to 20 and then the same to breathe out.
This helps me a LOT! Moreso depending on the position. It really helps to be in a comfy position where the rest of your body can totally relax. Along with the breathing, visualize your uterus as a balloon that is inflating and rising higher and higher (this is what it is actually trying to do). Then when you exhale, imagine the balloon slowly deflating (I see the mouth of the balloon--cervix--flapping around loosely like when it makes the 'ppppbbbblllttttthhhhh' sound) and blowing away. The rest of your body should just be a vessel, completely relaxed and limp.

Also, remember that your mouth/facial muscles are a corollary to the cervix and birth canal muscles. If your mouth and forehead are clenched, then you are clenched up down there and not facilitating dilation.
jabeen's Avatar jabeen 11:31 AM 02-20-2010
Thank you everyone. I had just read Plarka's response before the last contraction, and I tried the counting to 4 and 8, which worked the first 30 seconds or so, then I lost it. And started thinking I can't do this...I was never afraid of labor so I'm shocked by how hard it is. And the contractions are still 10-15 minutes apart (lasting 1 1/2 minute). It seems like it's a bit too early to get in the tub for a warm bath, no?
I will try everyone's suggestions and I really appreciate the support.
Oh and I feel the pain in the front, at the bottom of the uterus.
I just tried the leaning over the couch and swaying my hips for the last contraction, that seemed to help a lot. Thanks!!
womenswisdom's Avatar womenswisdom 11:44 AM 02-20-2010
Your contractions are lasting 1.5 minutes at this point? I would def. get in the tub! If you feel like it's making them not as strong, you can always get out again, but it might help you get on top of things. If you are planning a hb, you might want to give you mw a heads-up, since you might be having an unusual labor pattern. Strong contractions lasting 90 seconds but 10-15 min. apart isn't average (though I'm sure it's normal!) so you might want to keep open to the possibility that this labor might be a bit different than "average", with contractions starting off far apart and short and getting longer, stronger, closer together. Everyone labors differently, and it sounds like you're finding some things that work for you. You're doing great!
jabeen's Avatar jabeen 11:53 AM 02-20-2010
Thanks so much womenswisdom. They are definitely lasting 1 min 30 seconds, though the last 30 seconds, it is usually tapering off. I'm not having a homebirth but I'll check in with my midwife again soon. Ok am going to run the bath now!
mtnmoonmama's Avatar mtnmoonmama 02:47 PM 02-20-2010
So exciting! Wishing you a good birth and hope you're holding your baby soon.
angrypixiemama's Avatar angrypixiemama 03:14 PM 02-20-2010
You're doing great!!! The thing that helped me the most was remembering to relax my body from the head down, neck, shoulders, etc. And then, this may sound nuts, but I started talking to my baby, telling her, "We can do this. Please help Mama do this." It made me feel more connected to her and less aloft on an ocean of pain.

Hope you are holding your sweet little one soon. You can do this!
cocoanib's Avatar cocoanib 03:27 PM 02-20-2010
I feel like I'm witnessing your birth jabeen!
This is really interesting for me as a ftm.
I haven't had any fear about labor and birth, but I had a couple killer cramps(cnx) yesterday and they kinda shook me. For a moment I thought, how the heck am I going to do this for hours.

Great suggestions and support Mama's!
judybean's Avatar judybean 03:38 PM 02-20-2010
I love spirals. It was my go-to way of dealing with things during dd3s labor (I got the spirals idea from "Birthing From Within").

While the contraction is building and building I had to visualize a gigantic spiral... it was yellow at first, then turning orange, then red as it got closer to the middle.. I would follow along that spiral... (I would close my eyes to visualize it often, but would picture it taking up an entire wall... I would even roll my head around as I 'followed' the building spiral). I would make the peak of the contraction meet up with coming to the middle of the spiral... then, as the contraction would finally begin to wane, my spiral quickly went from reds/oranges/yellows, to a purple... then intense blue.. then a soft blue.. and finally a very peaceful green...

So I guess I used color visualizations along with spirals. It was best for me to try to use many different sense to keep my mind focused (aka, I couldn't just do a black spiral.. it's too easy for my mind to lose focus.. but if I knew I had to see the changing color, that helped keep me on track).