When it comes to labor and childbirth, it is one thing you really don’t want to go through alone. This is especially the case if you are planning to go through labor naturally– without medication. By taking preparations to make sure that you have a good support team during natural labor, it can help to make the entire labor and birthing process more comfortable and pleasant.
What does a Support Team Look Like?
A support team can be made up of different people. Your team might be just your husband or partner. You might have your mother or father, other family members, or even a close friend. You should try and find someone that you trust and feel comfortable with. Labor and delivery can make you feel very vulnerable, you will want to try to avoid having people that you do not feel fully comfortable with nearby.
Some women even choose to hire a doula to help them through the labor and birthing process. This allows them to have an outside voice to offer suggestions, help them through contractions, be their advocate, and offer extra support throughout the process.
Having Moral Support
It is crazy how much of a difference having someone in the labor room that absolutely supports you and your wants can make. When you are going through labor, especially without pain medication, you will likely not be focused on the decisions and questions that could arise throughout contractions. By having a support system that already knows and supports your wants and needs, you don’t need to worry about having to voice them yourself. This will allow you to rest and focus on your contractions and reaching the goal that is your baby arriving safely.
Your support team can also help keep unwanted visitors out of the room and with getting what you need from your nursing team. During labor, especially further on in labor, you will notice that you might become tired and forgetful. Your support system can remember your wishes and can help you to stay on the path of your main goal and make the whole experience less stressful for you.
Provide What You Need
Not only will your team help support your wants, they can also help to make you feel more comfortable. There are many different ways that you can utilize your birthing partners to help make your natural experience easier.
Your support team can help in the following ways and more:
- To help provide counter pressure during contractions
- To remind you to drink and eat while you can during labor
- Labor is often a long process, it is important to keep your body hydrated and fed during the beginning to help you have the energy to work through it all.
- To hold your hand during contractions/ give you something to squeeze
- To help calm you down and talk you through meditations, breathing exercises, positive affirmations, to focus on the end goal, or whatever your calming technique may be
- To rub your back, feet, neck, head, whatever helps you to relax
- To prep a nice bath to help you relax with contractions
Fear- Tension- Pain Cycle
Often in our culture, many photos of women in childbirth are of them screaming or in pain. This can often create the cycle of women fearing labor and childbirth. A large issue with this mindset is that you are already setting yourself up for a more difficult birthing process. When you fear something, this creates tension within the body, which then often results in more pain. When your body is tense, this will make your contractions stronger and more difficult to handle.
Pain is a sign that is telling the body that something is wrong. However, in the case of labor many believe that it is fear that causes this pain. When it comes to natural functions of the body, there is no pain, labor should not be the exception.
When we are afraid, our body sends messages saying that there is danger near. This then sends more blood and oxygen to our muscles bringing about the “flight or fight” response. According to research, the uterus is a non essential organ when it comes to the body’s fight or flight response. This means that it does not have the proper fuel that it needs to work correctly when this response comes about. The muscles around the sides of your uterus are now working against themselves. One set of muscles is trying to open the cervix, while the other set is trying to close the cervix. When this occurs, it can cause a long, painful, and unproductive labor. Your goal during childbirth is for your uterus to be able to function properly, the best way to do this is to help eliminate fear altogether.
Ways to Overcome Fear During Natural Labor
While this is easier said than done, having a good support team can help to keep you calm, relaxed, and not afraid during a natural labor.
Mind over matter really does help when it comes to natural labor. Many women find breathing techniques, meditation, having a focus object (having a picture of your baby to remind you of the end goal), or maintaining a conversation can help distract them from the pain of contractions.
Why a Good Support Team is Important?
Having a good support team during natural labor can not only help you avoid the fear that can come with childbirth, but also makes the process easier overall. You will have someone(s) by your side to help comfort you, meet any need that you have, help you relax, and speak for you during this time. Knowing that you have someone there to walk you through the process will help you to relax both mentally and physically and to enjoy your natural birthing process
Related Content: 6 Out of Bed Laboring Positions
Despite the prevalence of lying in a hospital bed during labor, the pain of labor can be exacerbated by lying down. When it comes to labor planning, be sure that you are able to move as you need to help reduce your pain and anxiety and help your labor progress.