Monday, 30 May 2011

A pain free labour for Maisy, sorted.

Last night I looked after a young lady who I shall call Maisy. She arrived at our labour ward in the early hours of the morning in labour. She was very distressed and in pain, so much so that she could hardly walk. After assessing her cervix to see if she was in labour I managed to calm her down by explaining why her contractions were causing pain. I then taught her the progressive muscle relaxation technique and sat her on a birthing ball.
When someone has entered the stress/pain cycle it can be very difficult to pull them out of it by getting them to listen to you and understand what you are trying to tell them. To her credit, Maisy listened to everything I said and very quickly began to reap the benefits. To her amazement the contractions stopped causing her pain. She was able to breath through the contractions sat on her ball with wonderful support from her partner who remained calm all the way through. When offered analgesia she declined saying that she was no longer in any pain.
Maisy went on to have a lovely normal delivery in a kneeling position on the bed. I am not going to tell you that the second stage was pain free cos that would be silly. As that head is crowning the perineum gets stretched and stings a lot. But Maisy was wonderful, she listened to me - when to push and when to pant - and we had an intact perineum. Her baby was alert and awake and fed at the breast within an hour of the birth.
Looking after Maisy was a delight. It makes the midwives job so much easier when mum takes control and breaks out of the stress/pain barrier. If Maisy can do it then why are you still telling yourself that a pain free labour is not possible, all it takes is to believe.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Hypno Birthing in Manchester, England

According to my local news station last night, Hypno birthing is being offered at Tameside hospital in Manchester, England. Hooray, at last a mainstream hospital is beginning to see the advantages of a pain free labour. They must be a lot cheaper to offer than epidurals. They call it Hypno Birthing but that may put a lot of people off. You are at no stage hypnotised so the name is misleading to say the least. All that is being offered is what I am offering in this blog. That is, using relaxation techniques learned in pregnancy and used during labour so as not to enter the stress/pain cycle that I see with most labours. Well done Tameside, the revolution has begun.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Relax with progressive muscle relaxation

For my two pain free labours I used progressive muscle relaxation as a technique to ensure that I did not secrete adrenalin. I was sat up on a comfortable padded chair with my eyes closed to begin relaxing. I focused on my feet, making them feel heavy and imagining the tension in them drifting away like a mist. When my feet felt very relaxed I then moved on to my legs then chest then arms and hands. The shoulders and neck should be given extra time to relax as most of our tension is found there. Just take a few extra minutes to feel them relax and imagine all that tension and stress drifting away. The head is next followed by the face. There are a lot of little muscles in the face so it is best to do the muscle relaxing there in stages. First the forehead, then the area around the eyes, and finally the jaw and mouth area.
Once you are fully relaxed, you have to keep going back to check that no tension has crept back into bits of your body, especially the shoulders. If a contraction occurs while relaxing it should be ignored with the mind focusing on relaxing the neck and shoulders. Your chosen method of relaxing should be practiced in pregnancy so that when labour day arrives you can start to relax easily and quickly before each contraction.
Of course, there are people who are incapable of relaxing. Coffee drinkers are adrenalin junkies and find it difficult to sit still for 5 minutes let alone relax and become tension free for a whole labour. Any caffeinated drinks are therefore not desirable as refreshments in labour.
Having a good social support system in place is beneficial as it will stop you stressing about other children or dependants. Being organised by having your bags packed and ready will reduce stress levels, you would be amazed at the amount of women who turn up in labour with a half packed bag. You've had nine months for goodness sake.
And finally, it is essential that your birth attendants are calm capable people who know exactly what your birth plan is so that they can negotiate with hospital staff instead of you risking getting stressed. Better still, stay at home and organise a home water birth. What better way to relax than to be in your own home, eating your own food and watching your own TV programmes. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ This technique is also fabulous for getting to sleep at night.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Why labour hurts 5

The focus with our maternity units today is mainly centred on pain relief. From the moment you enter a labour ward your contractions will be called 'pains' by midwives and doctors alike. The British TV programme 'One Born Every Minute' included recently an interview with a midwife stating that women should expect to be in "agony" during their labour.
With all the social conditioning aimed at convincing us that labour WILL be painful, we are brainwashed into thinking that we cannot possibly even contemplate going into labour without intensive medical help. It is therefore not surprising that women today fear childbirth. If I was told that I had a hospital appointment next week where I would be in acute agony for hours and hours then my adrenalin levels would start rising now and accumulate on a daily basis as the dreaded day drew nearer. With pregnancy you have nine months to hone that fear. Little wonder that women present in labour shouting for an epidural before they have even got through the hospital door.
The fear of labour is so instilled into out society that it will be very difficult to overcome. Until the fear is seen for what it is - a cause of painful labour contractions - then the "agony" will continue.
A self fulfilling prophesy.
Help break the mould by spreading the word of Pain Free Labour by following the simple steps outlined in this blog and posting your outcomes for all to see. Thank you.
Pain Free Labour books now available from Amazon.