Chelsea Bootsman

Birth Doula, Birth Photographer,

Family Photographer, Videographer



Serving Red Deer and Central Alberta

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©2019 Chelsea Bootsman Doula.Photo.Film

May 1, 2018

Psychology of Labour


Edited: May 1, 2018


“You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.” – Mary Manin Morrissey

It’s completely normal to have fears and doubts about labour, but keep in mind that those fears and negative thoughts can then impact your physical welfare, ultimately resulting in either going overdue or a more difficult labour.

Mull over your fears either on your own or talk about them with someone you trust. It’s also good to keep a journal to record your thoughts. In addition to writing down your fears, its also beneficial to write down what you are excited about! After a while, try to write down less negative thoughts, and more positive ones. If you’re still struggling with fears surrounding labour, birth, or postpartum, try writing down positive solutions that might accompany those issues.

Overall, fear is normal, but to be able to have the best birthing experience possible, you need to overcome those fears or at least go in with a positive mental state. Keep telling yourself that you are in good hands, you are safe, you are capable, and you are strong. Even if things don’t go exactly as planned, if you go in with a positive attitude, your overall experience will be better.

Here are some common fears that can go along with labour and birth;

  • Fear of the unknown.

  • Fear surrounding the things they’ve heard.

  • Fear from past experiences.

  • Homebirths - fear of something happening to baby or mom.

  • Hospital - Fear of hospitals in general.

  • Fear of needles.

  • Fear of interventions.

  • Fear of pooping while pushing.

  • Fear of being vulnerable.

What are some fears that you may need to work through?

New Posts
  • Admin
    May 1, 2018

    If there are any terms here that you don’t understand, just look it up on the internet, or ask an experienced doula or health care provider. Stalled labour is when contractions completely slow down or stop altogether. Slow progress is when you enter active labour, but active labour doesn’t progress as quickly as your health care providers would like. Failure to progress is when you reach a certain point and stop dilating or progressing at all, but continue to have regular contractions. You may often hear these terms and assume that your body “failed” you. However, there is usually a simple cause accompanied with these terms, that you may not think of. Some of the causes for stalled labour, slow progress, or failure to progress, can include; Fear Sensory overload Feeling unsupported Fetal mal-positioning Tight pelvic muscles and ligaments Baby isn’t engaging into the pelvis Tired uterus Ways to overcome these, can include; Raising your natural oxytocin levels. Working through your fears, writing them down and tearing up the paper, can help. Putting on a blindfold and headphones to create sensory deprivation for better focus. Asking unnecessary bodies to step out of the delivery room. Loosen up tight muscles; Rebozo sifting, inversion, side lying release, massage, pelvic tilts, bath or shower, psoas release, “shake the apple tree”. Encourage better fetal positioning. Hip rotations on birth ball, rebozo sifting, inversion, side lying release, pelvic tilts. Pelvic openers. Hip squeezes, squatting, kneeling with ankles wider than knees, Walcher’s position, sitting on a toilet or birthing stool. Having a little rest or something to eat, so that you can regain a bit of energy.
  • Admin
    May 1, 2018

    There are many ways to define contractions, and everyone experiences the intensity differently, but one thing that makes each persons journey through labour unique, is how they work through those contractions. Some people pray through them. Some do hypnotism. And some people prefer to go deep within themselves to just focus on surrendering to their body. Whatever you choose, remember that to be in control, you need to give up control... Relax your shoulders. Relax your jaw. Relax your bottom. Close your eyes. ....And just breathe. Remember; You are safe. You are strong. You are capable. If there comes a time in your labour where you are too exhausted to work, or the intensity is too much for you, do not feel bad about asking for a bit of pain relief. Sometimes, all your body needs is a little rest, in order for your muscles to relax, which then allows the contractions to push the baby down further, more efficiently. If you don’t have the option for pain medications, or haven’t allowed it to be an option for yourself, then there are a few ways to practice working through the “surges”; One exercise , is to put a few ice cubes in a bag, and hold that bag in your hand for 1 minute, then you rest for a minute. You repeat this pattern, until you have learned to breath and focus while holding the ice. A much nicer exercise , is to stretch out a tight muscle (usually one that you struggle with already), and hold that stretch for one minute. Then repeat the stretch on the other side, for another minute. While you hold these stretches, close your eyes, and focus on breathing while you feel the muscle release.
  • Admin
    May 1, 2018

    Labour is broken up into phases and stages. Every experience is different and varies in length. 1st stage - 0-10 cm Early phase - 0-3 cm. This is the start of labour. It’s generally the longest phase, but also the easiest. This is a great time to get a nap in (if you can), bake a cake, clean your house, go for a walk, or pack your hospital bag. Active labour - 4-7 cm. During active labour, things are starting to get more intense. You won’t be talking as much through contractions, you might be getting tired, and you’ll need to focus on relaxing your muscles during contractions. Transition - 7-10 cm. This is generally the quickest phase. You might feel like giving up, you’ll feel shaky, and you might be throwing up, but you are so close to the finish line! Just keep focusing on what you need to be doing and shut out any distractions. Let those surges push baby down further. 2nd stage - 10 cm to birth Pushing - this can last anywhere from 1 minute to 3 hours. Some women view pushing as a great relief, because instead of just trying to get through the contraction,  you are now able to actively work with the contraction. The flip side to that, is that although you don’t feel the contraction as much when you push, you will feel more pressure on your bottom, especially as baby’s head starts to crown. At this point, you will be told to slow down your pushing and breathe the baby down, in order to reduce your risk of tearing. Once the head is out, it’s then best to wait for the next contraction to push the body out. Baby exits the womb with umbilical cord still attached and a surge of oxytocin will help the placenta to start to detach from the wall of the uterus. 3rd stage - delivery of the placenta The placenta is generally delivered between 10-20 minutes after the delivery, but can sometimes take longer. To encourage the placenta to detach, and for your uterus to continue to contract down in size, you will either be given a shot of synthetic oxytocin to speed up the process, or your health care provider will wait for your natural oxytocin to do the work. Attaching babe to the breast can help with this oxytocin release. If you happened to tear during pushing, you will be given some freezing and will be stitched up after the placenta has been delivered.