First of all, let me say – congratulations mum to be!
So you’re thinking about giving birth ‘naturally’, that is giving birth ‘drug free’?
As long as you’ve got the green light from your health provider and you prepare in advance, a drug-free labour is totally possible.
How do I know if natural labour is for me?
I genuinely believe that birth is about mindset.
‘Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure’
If you want to commit to a drug-free birth, you need to commit mentally. Labour can test you but if you take steps to eliminate the fear of giving birth, you will know how to respond to your body’s needs on the day.
I made the choice to stay at home from the 7 month mark cooking, nesting and researching, as I wanted to invest my time into the preparation.
Even if you find yourself working for longer, you can still get ready – usually with regular practices you can do in half hour a day.
One of the best sources I found for tips on all kind of things natural birth – from support to trigger points to positions to try out – is Spinning Babies. I will be mentioning them throughout this post as I truly believe they’re a great source to every mom-to.
There you can find so much about baby positions in your uterus, how to prepare for labour during pregnancy and more specific positions and game changers should you need quick inspiration! I highly recommend you check out their site if you haven’t already.
Here we’ll just take it nice and easy and just go through five simple positions that you can use during any stage of labour.
Having a quick list ready to consult is really handy when labour might be getting tricky or slowing down.
So without further ado, here are my personal favourites:
1. THE CROUCH
As I often take up this position anyway when I need to rest my legs and there are no designated seats around me, this came easy to me.
You might want to practice it during pregnancy if you’re not familiar with it though.
The main thing here I think is to have something to hold yourself up on – this could be a wall, your partner or special ropes for labour.
Taking the toll off your back, this position is great for intense contractions as well as to shimmer baby down into place, when baby is pressing down on your back.
2. THE FROG
Ladies – this has to be my all-time favourite! Bearing in mind I used a birthing pool throughout a great part of my labour so I found that this position totally allowed me to let my belly sink into the warm water and really relax my back.
If you want to do it outside the tub, just put some cushions under your knees so you don’t get tired and sore.
Hopefully you should have already made your little nest automatically if you’re birthing at home or a birthing centre – but I’m sure you can stuff a couple of cushions in your hospital bag if not.
You can even kneel down and lay your chest over your birthing partner while he/she cools the back of your neck with a cold flannel.
3. ALL FOURS
An all time classic – I only used it a little during early labour, I don’t think my baby liked it any more than that!
Again another great position if you’re having back labour. The freedom of movement you have in this position can really ease the pain. Try rocking back and fourth or moving your back a little in a cat like manner (I know, you won’t really be feeling like a sexy cat, but make it work your way!)
This is also a great one for shimmy-shammying baby into position when it feels kind awkward in there, or can help turning round a posterior baby.
The only down side of this is that it could put a strain on your wrists if you hold it too long, consider maybe leaning on your forearms rather than your wrists or again prop yourself up on some comfy cushions.
If you have the comfort of a tub, you can let your upper body rest on the sides. I would recommend to keep moving a little and rotating the pelvis as too much time in one position can slow labour down.
4. THE CHAIR
I personally found that I just didn’t have the strength for this, though it’s not to say it can’t work for you. The only reason it didn’t work for me was because of the postitioning of my baby as she was really pressing on my lower back and sciatique nerve. Yikes!
If you’re in a hospital environment or a Birth Centre, you may ask to use a Birth Chair. It will help to ease the pelvic pain and can help engage baby.
Make sure the chair is sturdy though. Ahem.
Just kidding! Or you can sit on the toilet seat – I did this during my intense and active labour and it helped break the rest of my waters. Okay, that sounded a little strange. I had a little trickle in the early hours of labour. When I sat on the toilet seat however, there came the gush everywhere.
For an even deeper stretch, you can place one foot on a little stool or whatever you have handy and change sides.
5. THE STAND AND LEAN
Though it may sound simple, this one is actually a wonder! Especially works when you’ve tried them all, you’re a little irritated and restless – just lean over the kitchen counter and zone out (or IN if you prefer)
You can do this over the sofa, bed, or any given place. It’s so great because it really allows the lower back muscles to relax and hence tension to subside, allowing you to regain a bit of strength.
You can even get partner or Birth Assistant to gently ‘thump’ your lower back, as the vibrations help to relax even further.
You can find more detailed information on one of Spinning Babies’ favourite positions which is more like a kneel and lean but has many benefits – the main one being that it loosens any tight ligaments in the pelvis area, providing you do it once daily for at least 30seconds. Read here for clear instructions before you attempt it yourself.