2. Each birth is different. The journey to bring a baby into the world is different for each woman and also differs with each pregnancy. Some women have long labours and some women have short ones. Each baby is different and they play a big role in the experience of birthing them. It’s good to remember to be open to all possibilities. If a labour was short last time, it doesn’t mean it will be short the next time (and vice versa). Usually births get a bit quicker with subsequent babies, but not always. Don’t place any pressure on the mama (and encourage her to not place high expectations on herself either).
3. Oxytocin ‘the love hormone’ is shy. When women feel observed, labour often slows and can even stop. For the right concoction of birthing hormones to be released, women need to feel safe and have privacy. Loving touch, massage, warmth, dim lights and caring support will assist oxytocin to be released and the labour to progress. Sometimes this just takes time. Telling a birth woman she needs to ‘hurry up’ or that she needs to progress faster, usually has the opposite effect of slowing things down.
5. Counter pressure is amazing. Women’s hips are very flexible, especially in labour. It can feel incredible to have counter pressure like sacral acupressure and hip squeezing. It can also assist the mothers pelvis to open even more.
6. Positions matter. The baby’s position in the pelvis makes a big difference to how smoothly birth can unfold. If the baby is having trouble getting into an ideal position, then the mothers movements can make all the difference. Being active helps the hips to make different shapes and this helps the baby to get into the best position for birth. I highly recommend that every birthing woman know about ‘Spinning Babies’ so they can learn different movements in pregnancy and know what positions are helpful in birth.
7. Vocalising is helpful. Society tells us a lot about what women ‘should’ do. It’s interesting that many people correlate being ‘in-control’ with being quiet. Yet, birth workers know, making sounds can be very helpful. Vocalising can give a focus and help dissipate pain. Deep sounds help soften and open the body (versus high pitched sounds that tend to tighten and clench the perineum). When it comes time to push, try sending that sound down and out or internalize it and use that focus and energy to breathe the baby out. It makes a big difference.