Today we have another post from the midwives at Ochsner North Shore located in Slidell. Karen and Lillian will be working with us over the next few months provided information on pregnancy, labor, and birth, Today they’ll be sharing information on managing pain during labor.
Pregnancies last around 40 weeks to allow for infants to fully develop in preparation for a smooth transition to the world outside from the safe, warm place where they grew. Many women and their partners spend this time making plans for life after they take their baby home by choosing the best car seat while friends and family arrange baby showers and offer parenting advice. Many times we miss the opportunity to acknowledge that pregnancy also lasts the good part of a year in order for a woman to prepare herself for her transition into motherhood – labor and birth.
Researching pain management options offered by your OB provider, taking prenatal classes to gather information and meeting with doulas are great places to start. Some of the best preparation for managing the pain of labor comes from within.
Explore Your Preconceptions and Fears About Labor
When you think about a woman in labor what movie plays in your mind? Do you see a women screaming and begging for an epidural? Do you see a woman holding her baby for the first time, exhausted but so proud and completely in love? Our idea of birth is influenced by our own life experiences as well as the stories we hear from mothers, sisters, friends and the media. Take the time to explore your fears about labor and birth with your OB provider before labor starts.
Understand That Pain in Labor is “Pain With a Purpose”
For nine months you’ve endured aches and pains as your body changed to accommodate your growing baby. Whether a woman breezes through pregnancy with few issues or struggles with daily pain, every woman accepts these as one part of their journey to motherhood. Similarly, each woman’s labor is unique, and a necessary step toward meeting her baby. Understanding pain in labor is “pain with a purpose” that is time limited and has great reward at the end can help to lessen fear around the pain of labor.
Be Flexible and Listen to Your Body
No matter how well you prepare yourself your labor journey will be full of unexpected twists and turns. You may be in early labor for two days or you may progress so quickly that when you arrive at the hospital you are fully dilated. Certain positions will feel better than others and the massage that felt so soothing during early labor may be the last thing you want when you enter the active phase of labor. Use your prenatal visits to develop trust and a relationship with your OB provider so they can better guide your along your labor path.
Looking for some other information about giving birth? We have tons of information available for you. Check out our full pregnancy guide for gender reveal ideas, must-haves for your nursery and more.