There are many ways to prepare your body for labour, including chiropractor adjustments, massages, drinking raspberry leaf tea, eating healthy, attending prenatal exercise classes, etc. However, how many of us know exactly why we should be doing these activities? Yes it all sounds good, and we’ve been told that it’s important for something....but what?
Our bodies are very intricate systems, both physically and mentally, and developing a baby inside our womb’s are a very intricate process. Some of the ways our bodies prepare for labour, are by toning our pelvic muscles and uterus, while gently turning baby into the most ideal position for labour (left occiput anterior), and allowing baby to descend down into our pelvis. In most cases, our bodies don’t need much help making these changes, but occasionally, they need a little assistance.
Aside from the physical, we also need to take care of our emotional state about labour, because if we don’t, we can subconsciously put up mental blocks that either keep our bodies from progressing, or add tension and morepain.
The four main factors that lend to an easier labour, are fetal positioning, pelvic muscles and ligaments, psychologically, and the hormone oxytocin.
The way our pelvises are designed, either makes an easy passage for babies to get through, or a less than ideal passage for babies.
Muscles and ligaments:
It’s important to have stretched, toned, and balanced muscles and ligaments for labour. Imbalanced muscles and ligaments can shift baby into poor positioning, and tight muscles and ligaments, may not allow your pelvis to shift and move the way it needs, for baby to properly engage.
Mental blocks or fears, can make for a longer, tougher labour, so it’s good to work through these fears.
If you’ve ever heard of the fear - tension - pain cycle, it means that fear can lead to tension (not being able to relax during or between contractions), which leads to more pain, which then leads back to fear.
Oxytocin: Oxytocin is the natural “love” hormone. This hormone is produced throughout labour, and helps keep contraction coming steadily. Even more of this hormone is produced after the baby is birthed, and it aids in the delivery of the placenta, the contraction of the postpartum uterus, the production of breastmilk, and more!
Sometimes, our emotional state or fears can
inhibit the production of oxytocin, which can lead to a longer, more painful labour. Ways to encourage the production of more oxytocin in labour; Be intimate with your partner. Laughter and dancing Getting rid of distractions, and staying as relaxed as possible. Labouring with dim lights and soft music. If you are neither a relinquishing mother or a surrogate, it may also help to visualize holding your baby.