Labor literally transforms you on every level of your being. It turns you into a parent, gives you the power, self-reliance and confidence to care for a newborn. Labor permanently attaches you to your baby, and allows you to be the parent you want for your child as she or he grows up. It is also comforting to know that labor and birth are good and transformational for babies as well.
Throughout history, pain in labor has been the subject of animated conversation among women having babies. Most women have some fear or concern as their labors approach. Let’s think together for a bit about this important topic, to hopefully help you feel more prepared to make the best decisions for yourself for your labor. Each person having a baby has every right to choose whatever way of giving birth that is best for her – without any judgement. In today’s climate, however, epidurals in labor are so common, that reliable, solid information about the purpose of labor and about pain during labor may be hard to come by.
The good news – and what our culture has largely forgotten – is that labor and birth are not illnesses but instead are healthy life processes. Health, safety and satisfaction are built right into the process of labor and giving birth. Labor that starts and unfolds on its own, as a result of your body’s own hormones, actually enhances your safety and the safety of your baby.
While labor is designed to be challenging, to push you to your edges and to cause you to grow and develop into a mother, it is also designed to be completely doable. It is important to know that labor is a gradual process – not one long contraction! Two things about contractions are important to know as you prepare for your birth:
- Contractions are experienced as waves of sensation, starting out mildly, building to a peak about half-way through the contraction, and then tapering off in the last part of the contraction. In other words, the peak of sensation or pain is only a part of the minute or so that you are experiencing the contraction.
- Between Contractions, with the possible exception for a short period of time late in labor, there is no sensation of pain at all – you feel just like you do right now as you read this! These breaks between contractions are very important – they are a time, that can last several minutes, for you to rest, to feel ‘normal’. Paying attention to and appreciating these important breaks as times to rest and rejuvenate, will give you the energy you need for your labor.
There are many, many ways to cope naturally and effectively with the challenges of labor, as well as many choices you can make about where and with whom you give birth, that will greatly improve your chance of having a natural birth. Call the Monadnock Birth Center today to take a tour & explore all that we have to offer!