Aug 212012

“My pain threshold is really low, I would rather have an epidural, I cannot go through what I have heard” Eskey said to me during our meeting.

Eskey had talked to a few of her friends who gave her very varied experiences.
My thoughts are that most women may remember the pain that comes with labor but none of us can describe it fully. It is stored in our subconscious mind so we never remember the details of it.

The pain that comes with labor is unique. The beauty is that when there is no contraction, there is no pain. The contractions are intermittent meaning that they do give you a break.


What is Labor?

Labor is an event that happens after 37 completed weeks of pregnancy; the muscles of the abdomen go into contractions in an effort to expel the baby and all other products of pregnancy.

Labor can be ‘False’; this is when the contractions are periodic, and may or may not have pain accompanying them. These contractions especially those without accompanying pain are known as Braxton hicks contractions (BHC).

True Labor is when the contractions are regular, have a rhythm and have accompanying pain to the abdomen, back or thighs.


When does labor start?

Labor will start when the body and baby are ready.

The Cervix softens and thins ready to open and in some occasions opens way before the first contraction. The uterus then starts contracting to expel the baby as the birth canal is set to allow for birth.

The baby’s lungs will mature, their body accumulates the fat that gives them the chubby look and they descend to the pelvis. The pressure they exert together with the softened cervix can trigger labor.

Unless in a few cases where interventions are necessary, it is important to wait for the body to initiate labor as it knows what to do and when to do it.

Remember: The EDD (expected date of delivery) is not an ‘Expiry date’; it is a date to just indicate when the baby is fully matured while in the womb.


Three things every parent-to-be should do before Labor:

1. Take a childbirth preparation class: 

The saying goes ‘Knowledge is power’. A child birth class gives you information about the birth process, helps you deal with your fears and anxieties giving you the power to define how your birth experience should be.

2. Write a birth plan:

This is the breakdown of how you want your birth experience to be. It may be mental but it is best written so you can share it with your midwife or doctor. Your doula keeps a copy of your birth plan so that they can help ensure that you are able to achieve your preferred birth or one close to your plan.

3. Hire a Doula:

A Doula is a person who is by your side during labor to offer you support. Doulas offer both emotional and physical support and act as your advocate to ensure you get the birth experience you want.
You need to establish a relationship with your doula during pregnancy so you are not strangers during birth.


5 tips to help you Cope with the pain of labor:

1. Create an environment that will enhance your relaxation

2. Use gravity,Keep an upright position as this allows the pelvis to expand well, and the birth canal to open better.

3. Relax in between contractions and enjoy the break

4. Water, Deep breathing and massage help relieve the pressure and keep your   muscles at ease during a contraction

5. Don’t be alone, a humorous person is best to have.


More, at our Birth Essentials Program.

Lucy Muchiri

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