Some people believe there’s not much you can really ‘do’ to make birth easier, shorter or safer. I am not one of those people anymore.
For some women, intervention really is necessary, and I am all for intervention when it’s needed – it absolutely saves lives. Some women really want it – so let them have it. I just didn’t want any intervention if I could help it. Daft as it may sound to some (maybe it’s not just me), I was actually more scared of intervention than of the labour itself.
I was so terrified of labour (the most ‘natural’ thing that a woman can ever do?) that I realised I had to do something about it – this fear I had, I knew, wasn’t going to help me. Being an engineer, I needed to find a solution. What was it that was going to help me get through this?
So began my epic research journey into the world of labour and birth, and I have found not just one but many, super helpful things that really do (no matter how weird or basic some of them may sound) make birth easier.
I do believe that for many women intervention is suggested far too early, when, as I have discovered, many labours need no help whatsoever apart from being left a little longer or given a little more peace and quiet (why do you think other mammals go and find a comfortable, quiet, often dimly lit space to birth?). If labour does need a little helping hand, wouldn’t it be nice if you could try some alternatives before going down the medical intervention route? Fast acting alternatives which really work?
You Can Change Your Labour
Intervention free births (I tend not to use the term ‘normal birth’ as birth is birth however you do it) do happen and they can happen for you. Not only this, but you can make them happen. I quite literally changed the course of my two non-starter labours using fetal positioning techniques – which to me was nothing short of miraculous – so I know firsthand that these techniques are not a load of rubbish.
Fetal Positioning Techniques- Take Real Action!
Have you spent time spent slouching at desks, driving, carrying a bag on one shoulder, or crossing your legs over your lifetime? Our original mammal design doesn’t account for this type of body behaviour. These repeated unnatural body positions – or even a sudden stop in an accident or sport – create imbalances in the uterus and surrounding ligaments and muscles. This reduces space in the pelvis and baby’s alignment is affected. Some babies may even turn sideways, back to back or head up.
Alignment is something so simple which can in many cases be so easily and gently remedied by mummy rebalancing her uterine area, allowing baby to reposition itself the way nature originally intended.
Fetal positioning techniques are not only for turning back to back, or breech babies. Even a labour with a baby in a seemingly ideal position (head down and facing mummy’s back) can be overly long, or contractions can slow down or stop. This can often be due to something as simple as baby’s head being tilted to the side slightly, the chin not being flexed (tucked in to the chest), or ligaments/muscles being too tight for baby to fit through. These things can make labour unnecessarily long. Square peg, round hole. Pretty logical.
Fetal positioning techniques, gently relax and release tight ligaments and muscles, and balance the uterus, giving baby space to do the subtle movements it needs to and help align the smallest part of baby’s head with the pelvis so that baby’s route into the outside world is as easy and short as possible.
The techniques can be fast acting, which is what happened to me in both my labours.
I practiced the techniques ‘Rebozo Sifting’, ‘Forward Leaning Inversion’ and ‘Side Lying Release’ during pregnancy so that they felt easy and comfortable during labour, which is when I used them with greatest effect. USE these techniques during LABOUR for:
contractions with no progress,
contractions slow down or stop completely,
if you know your baby is in a less than ideal position, or,
if you have hip or back pain, or you have swelling on your cervix.
The ‘Abdominal lift and Tuck’ Technique is for early labour only as it needs contractions to work (even if they’re irregular) so this one cannot be used until labour starts. This one is particularly great for turning a back to back baby (like I did in an hour!), or engaging baby in the pelvis.
STEP BY STEP
Learn the SpinningBabies.com techniques above.
Follow instructions carefully to make sure they are appropriate for you and they are done correctly for safety and to make sure they work well (some don’t do anything if not done correctly).
Practise during pregnancy so that they’ll feel easy and comfortable during labour.
If you’re right at the end of your pregnancy it is NOT TOO LATE.
USE THESE TECHNIQUES DURING EARLY LABOUR.
REMEMBER TO TAKE THE INSTRUCTIONS WITH YOU during labour, whether that is on paper, or via your phone, tablet or laptop (remember you may not be allowed to plug in electrical devices at the hospital and there may be poor internet signal).
Before you attempt any Spinning Babies fetal positioning techniques I’d advise you first to print out the pages ‘Rebozo’, ‘Forward Leaning Inversion’ and ‘Side Lying Release’ and show a copy to your doctor or midwife for discussion, where you should ask if there is any medical reason you couldn’t try any of the suggestions on those pages. As an example, for very high or very low blood pressure or risk of a stroke, it is advised not to do inversions. If you have a low risk pregnancy with no contraindications, most of the techniques are usually fine. Just check first. Obviously go with your intuition and only undertake activities you feel comfortable with. You know your body and your pregnancy.
For clarification I’ve given a few translations for some of the medical terminology from SpinningBabies.com in my full Guide to Make Birth Easier (which you can find here).SpinningBabies.com is written by a midwife for other midwives so the language can be quite medical.
If only some of the secrets in my Guide were not so secret, many women could increase their chance of an intervention free labour and birth, if that’s what they would like. Most midwives don’t know about fetal positioning techniques – yet.
This is why I set up #MakeBirthEasierCampaignUK the goal of which is, one day, to have all midwives trained in fetal positioning techniques as standard and be using them in routine maternity care, including antenatally.
The Actually Useful, Very Sensible and Practical Guide to Make Birth Easier
My full Guide to Make Birth Easier includes tips for c-section birth, ways to make birth easier for your baby, general ways to make labour shorter and more manageable, birth preferences, how to speed up your recovery and even how to recover your tummy – coming soon.
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