Nurtured Birthing Resources – Week Four

It can feel like there is so much to learn, remember, put into practise during pregnancy and preparing for birth – in our last two classes we started to think about how position, environment and hormones can effect the journey.

Oxytocin is the hormone responsible for fuelling contractions. When a baby’s head presses against the cervix it sends a signal to the brain and it stimulates the production of oxytocin which then causes the uterus muscle to contract.

It can be such a powerful concept to consider each and every contraction as an opportunity to move through the stages of labour in a dynamic way – using your breathing to give you focus, keep the uterus fuelled with that fresh oxygenated blood supply, continue allowing your body to pump endorphins and keep adrenaline at bay. Knowing that oxytocin is the energy that powers those contractions, and that you have an element of control over the amount of oxytocin being pumped into the system is a powerful tool to have!

It can be useful to remember this using a car analogy:

Early Labour – 1st to 3rd gears – Rest is important in labour and in particular in early in the journey so try to not chase your labour, think about a left lateral resting position with lots of pillows to help you stay semi-reclined rather than lying straight down or leaning forward over something like a birth ball – you can let gravity do it’s work even while you’re resting or sleeping! When you feel that you want to move,  imagine keeping your foot on the pedal as you get things moving, gradually increasing in speed as more fuel is in the engine. Staying upright and allowing gravity to aid baby’s connection to the cervix, rotating, dancing, swaying, walking – keep things moving!

Established Labour – 4th and 5th gears – Cruising! This is where being closest to the floor is often the way to go, thinking about being in All Fours positions, moving with the rhythm of your labour, in the zone, focussing on the breath and tuning in to what your body is telling you. From here if things begin to slow down a little you can easily put your foot back on the pedal by coming back up in to upright positions or being supported by your partner and perhaps some pelvic tilts!

If at any point it feels like you’ve hit top speed and things are moving too fast, adrenaline is taking over and oxytocin and endorphins are in decline – remember you can take your foot off the pedal by getting down on all fours, take your head to your hands on the floor and think about the resting position or forward leaning inversion. Perhaps you need this position to come back to the breath, take the intensity off a little to allow a fight or flight response to ease away and return to your oxytocin and endorphin state – or perhaps you need to try and stall for a little time when decisions need to be made about any step of your labour and you need a little time to use your TBRAIN.

Early Labour

Why ignoring the early signs of labour is a good thing and find things to distract from them. After all a watched pan never boils.

Stages of labour

Rachel Reed’s definition of the stages of labour describe what you can feel happening rather than being cervix centric.

Monitoring in labour

You will be offered monitoring in labour which could be intermittent or continuous and the following article by AIMS covers the pros and cons.

What’s Syntocinon?

Sometimes as part of labour you might be offered a syntocinon drip, but what is the difference between syntocinon and oxytocin.