How To Practice For Labor
When I was pregnant, it never occurred to me that I should “train” for labor. I just thought when it was time to give birth to my son, it would just happen and I would become a mom, and that would be it.
But from my experience since then, as well as helping other moms through labor, preparing for birth is really about preparing for labor contractions.
When you “train”for them, you have a better understanding of how contractions work and what you can do to manage them.
Once you practice labor, then you’ll be more physically and mentally prepared. You can even develop an wanness of how you may emotionally respond to labor and find ways to work with that as well.
Practicing for labor:
- If you can, enroll in a childbirth class online or a “live” class in your local community
- pay attention to the comfort skills you learn: breathing, positions, warm/cold packs, touch, timing contractions, etc.
In your home:
- Create a “practice contraction map”: Draw three “contractions” like in the example below. But, make the “hills” more uniform in size than what you see in this image.
- Pretend the first “contraction” (hill) is 30 seconds long from start to finish.
- the rest in between, known as the “resting phase” is 60 seconds from when the first “contraction” ended to when the second “contraction” begins. Are you with me so far?
- Pretend the second “contraction is 45 seconds long from start to finish
- We’ll keep the resting phase,( the space in between contraction to contraction) the same time, 60 seconds (in real life this will vary).
- Pretend the third contraction lasts 60 seconds from start to finish
- End this round with a resting phase for 60 seconds
- so it looks like this: 30 – 60 – 45 – 60 – 60 – 60
- During the resting phase, relax, slow deep breathing, check your mindset, and get ready for the next contraction
Now, during each “contraction (hill)
- breathing exercise
- change positions, rock, sway, sit on an exercise ball, walk, squat
- touch, massage, gentle stroking, hand massage
This is practicing for labor. The more you do this, the less intimidated you’ll be when your labor really starts. You’ll know what positions to do, how to breathe through your contractions, etc. It’s “training” for a physical experience.
Also your emotions are important to be aware of because the more tension and anxious you feel, may increase your perception of contraction pain.
Practice daily if you can and with your partner.
PS – What did you think of this post? Would love to read your comments!