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Friday, July 15, 2011

Loosening our ligaments and muscles to help facilitate labor

I have often heard that one reason for getting an epidural during labor is to help the mom relax.  I do think this is a valid reason, but for those who are really not wanting to take pain medication, there are other options out there.  There are lots of areas to address with this idea as the idea of relaxation is complicated and works in many different ways.  One idea that intrigued me came from spinning babies.  Here she states "Tight muscles, tight ligaments -these can be relaxed with body work and even by things the mother can do herself, or with the help of people at her birth."  The idea is, that there are mechanical things we can do to help relax our muscles and ligaments. 

Here's a video of how to use rebozo to do this:

Being upright and moving also helps stretch the ligaments to facilitate birth.

Then there is my favorite cure-all: hot water.  Hot water is well known for it's ability to loosen tight musles and relieve tension.   If jets are available this helps to relax those muscles even more.  Hot water also dilates blood vessels which allows lactic acid to be carried away faster. 

I also think lavender oil would be useful in these cases.  Better yet, use lavender and hot water together.  Just put a few drops of it in the bathtub and soak away.

I will always remember one a birth I attended as a nurse and the importance the midwife placed on relieving muscle tension.  This particular birth was with a first time mom that was in her 40's.  She had an epidural, but was having a difficult time pushing her baby out.  As I watched the midwife, I noticed that she was continually massaging the mothers legs in between pushes.  At the time it struck me as a little different because the mom could not even feel her legs.  Thinking back now, I'm sure that this midwife understood that tight muscles cause difficulties with birth, and that tight muscles can happen with or without an epidural.  I make more of an effort now to help relax and relieve tension for all women I take care of.  It can make a difference, not only for their comfort, but for their ability to birth their baby more effectively. 


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Birth is a Journey: Does it have to be life changing?

  • One woman might have to climb on an overfilled boat, risking her life and nearly dying as she escapes over the ocean to come to this land. This experience could certainly be life altering. It may very well color the rest of her life, positively or negatively. (I overcame this amazing struggle and here I am triumphant! OR Holy crap, that was SO hard I don’t know if I can go on! By the way, neither response is “right”. No one would judge the woman with the 2nd response.)
  • One woman may buy an airplane ticket, sit on a comfortable 747 and fly to America with a nice smooth flight and landing. She is happy to be in America. Those welcoming her are glad she is here safe and sound. She may only travel by plane 2-4 times in her life, so it is pretty memorable. But the journey itself probably wouldn’t be life changing; it would simply be a journey.
  • One woman may learn to fly an ultra-light plane to lead a flock of geese into America teaching them to migrate. This experience could certainly be empowering and life altering.