I’ve been wanting to write about this for a little while & having had this very discussion with a few patients in a row lately, sparked me into action.
There are two things that were consolidated for me during my own labor. One, was to trust your own instincts & the second, not to think too far ahead (and how this can shut down labour progressing).
The first one may seem a little airy fairy but its an important one. For me this came about in a fairly harmless way, but its not always the case. The morning of my 37 week obstetrician appointment I woke up leaking. It happened again on the way to the OBs & when i told him, he said i had peed myself. I hadn’t. When i insisted, he did an ultrasound & said baby was fine, floating around in a full sac of amniotic fluid. Thats all good & well, but i knew i hadnt peed myself! So with the pretense that, as i would soon see, there was no amniotic fluid, he humoured me & did the swab test. It was positive for amniotic fluid! I said nothing. Inside i was holding in the bigest i told you so/ how do you like them apples! I had my little girl 36 hours later. Trust your instincts!
Now, don’t think too far ahead is probably the first thing I tell my pregnant mamas when they ask for advice (& even when they don’t). This is because it can have such a bearing on the progress & outcome of your labor. Ocytoxin is the hormone produced in labor that gets things moving. It softens & dilates the cervix, leading the cascade of events. It is also the feel good hormone which is your very smart bodies way of helping you through labor & to bond with your baby afterwards. Ocytocin is what stimulates let down in breast feeding, which is why i get women to pump if they’re trying to bring on labor. (another tip for you!). What not only hinders, but can dramatically shut down oxytocin release and therefore cervical dilation, is adrenaline. Adrenaline causes us to go into sympathetic dominance or fight or flight, also leading to increased pain response. So if you try to be in the moment as much as possible & not think to far ahead, the better you’ll get through it. One contraction at a time, leading you cliser to meeting your little one. Remember, whether you go drug free or go the whole hog of pain relief, you got this.
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