What is a positive birth? What are we talking about trying to achieve?
There's no one type of positive birth. Neither is a positive birth only possible if all your hoped and plans come true exactly as you wish. A birth you can look back on and feel positive about means one where you knew you were supported by those around you and when you were given the chance to make the best fully informed decision for you whatever the circumstances on the day. You can have a positive home water birth, a positive planned c-section birth, a positive hospital labour ward active birth, a positive birth with an epidural, any kind of birth that feels like the right choice for you. We're talking about supporting you to make your own decisions we're not interested in telling you what those decisions should be. More about our ideas on positive birth in a previous blog post.
In your control pandemic or no pandemic...
In our last post we talked about shifting your focus from what is out of your control to what is in your control and how this may help you plan for a positive birth regardless of what's in the news or how hospital policies may change . Now it's time to get practical we've been collecting ideas from anyone who will talk to us about what practical activities and ideas can help to raise our positive birthing hormones and help us switch off our worry brains and let our bodies get with the work of labour and birth.
Help my body do what?
Quick biology of birth side note. (Very simplified version for speed apologies to anyone who feels the brevity compromises accuracy.) What are we helping /letting our body do? In labour your body produces hormones (chemical messengers produced in one part of your body and sent to another where they cause an effect) one of the important ones for labour and birth is oxytocin, otherwise known of as the love hormone. Oxytocin is produced when you feel safe and loved and one effect it has is to cause the muscles in your uterus to contract (another which comes in handy later on is encouraging your breast milk let down.) These waves of contractions cause the muscle to pile up at the top of your uterus ready to push your baby out. They also pull your cervix open to make space for your baby to move through your birth canal and be born. So all of the ideas to practically help yourself are to allow your body to produce as much oxytocin as it needs (and alongside that the other hormones like the endorphins which are your own personal pain relief) and to move into the positions which allow your body to give your baby the space to be born.
Relax? Seriously it's a stressful time for everyone and waiting for my baby to arrive 'on time' isn't helping either!
There are so many outside pressures and waiting for your baby to arrive and being in labour (or maybe in labour wondering if this is it yet or not is another potential stress) might seem a bit overwhelming even in a more normal time let alone during a pandemic.
Lets not be unrealistic we can't just tell ourselves not to worry just relax then click our fingers and it's done. But there are lots of ways we can help our bodies relax and give our brains other things to think about. The following list doesn't cover everything it's just some ideas that have come up during the last couple of weeks when we've been talking about this as a group.
Staying at home more than usual we remembered we had a blog for the first time in 18+ months. We also had our first online meet-up using Zoom. The topic of the meeting gives us the title for this blog. Here's part one of a round of up of some of the things we spoke about during the meeting that might help you feel more positive about planning your birth if you're feeling unsettled by all the changes going on in life at the moment.
What can you control?
Practical ideas for raising your oxytocin levels and staying calm and relaxed as you plan for and go through your labour and birth coming next.