Position Yourself For The Best Birth Possible
During birth, your body and your baby are working together to facilitate a smooth transition into the world. Unfortunately, a lot of the lifestyle choices we make and the birth practices we pursue are actually making things a lot harder for both you and your babe. Here are a few tips to help your baby out during the amazing process of birth. These ideas will also help you get through birth in one piece!
Rock your pelvis
Dancing your baby out with rhythmic rocking of the pelvis is a great way to aid circulation, keep the muscles of the pelvic floor open and embrace the movement of your baby. As your baby moves into and through the pelvis in preparation for delivery, try rocking your pelvis in either a standing position (try dancing with your partner), or leaning forward and resting your arms and head on the side of a bed or couch, or by sitting on a birth ball and circling your pelvis in all directions according to what feels best. Pelvic rocking can help create a path of least resistance for your baby and help facilitate the birth.
Stay off your back
I used to watch TLC’s Baby Story and think that in order to push a baby out you had to be on your back with your knees pressed back to your ears and someone telling you to push and hold your breath for 10 seconds. I thought that was how it was done. Thankfully, I learned why that is ludicrous before the delivery of my sons!
Giving birth on your back makes things harder for you and your babe. You are pushing against gravity and you restrict the movement of the sacrum, thereby narrowing the space in the pelvis. This makes it harder for your baby to maneuver his way down and out of the birth canal. Back lying during labour and delivery also presses on the vena cava, which can impede the flow of oxygen to the baby and our body. We are told throughout pregnancy to stay off our back because of the pressure it places on the vena cava, so why is it ok to be on our back during birth?
Use gravity, movement and positions that free the sacrum
Standing, walking and dancing are all wonderful movement practices for labour. As is sitting and rocking on a ball, kneeling and leaning on a ball or kneeling in a pool and draping yourself over the edge. For pushing, I like the side lying position (this is a great position for slowing things down in a fast birth and it is also a great one for preserving the perineum). You can lift the head of the hospital bed up or stack some pillows under you to get a bit more assistance from gravity. I also like kneeling on all 4’s – again you can be on the hospital bed with the back raised so you can hang on to it or you can be on the floor leaning over a ball or holding on to a partner or in the pool. A birth stool is also a good tool – a cool one is the Kaya Birth Stool. So many options! And if you ever feel like you are stuck, or not progressing, try a different position or go sit on the toilet where your body naturally relaxes for elimination.
Our breath is cleansing and nourishing. It helps us relax, it helps us heal, and it helps alleviate discomfort. When we hold our breath we create tension, we restrict the flow of oxygen and we feel more discomfort. During labour, your baby needs open space, reduced tension, and oxygen. Inhale to expand and create space for your baby. Exhale sending your breath to your pelvic floor, releasing any tension. Nourish your body and your babe on his journey to his own breath in the outside world.
Birth is natural and you were designed for the process. With these tips you can help facilitate the journey and empower yourself for an amazing event that will leave you in awe of what you can do!
For more information on how to facilitate the best birth possible, contact us about our Prepare to Push program. We will soon have a booklet available for purchase, for those outside of the Greater Vancouver area.