And What About Pain in Labor?
Have you heard about pain with a purpose? Probably…I agree that pain really makes you move so that labor and descent of the baby occurs. It’s so wise…nature really is wise don’t you think? I have observed this with many moms. When I get to their homes sometimes they are lying down or just relaxing in the tub. I just sit next to them and observe. After a while, they will ask me how much longer? I usually tell them I don’t know but probably if we walk or change positions things may move a little faster. Sure enough, most of them get up and start walking (I definitely think it makes a big difference!). Some of them, after a couple of hours of walking will start to enter the transition stage. How beautiful! Now, they can get back in the pool and rest!
Yes, they complain about the pain, about the discomfort. A lot is happening there, tissues stretching, joints opening, pressure…but that’s what the birth team is for, to support her and offer emotional and physical support. A cold washcloth on the forehead, a back massage, pressure on the hips, somebody offering water or everybody singing “OOOOMMMM” with her during contractions. These are the best ways to release endorphins which are our natural and endogenous morphine. This physiologic response offers relief and a sense of being in another zone.
The presence of a Birth Doula (professional labor companion) during labor is crucial, especially for first time moms or if labors are very long. Doulas can contribute so much to a natural birth. The emotional support they provide is huge and so worth it, considering the comfort and reassurance they offer.
Find more information about Doulas here, where you can also find a doula in your area. You can also check my Doula section where you can find amazing doulas with lots of experience with home births. I usually require my first time moms to have a doula with them. Doulas have been found to have a positive impact on birth and on decreasing interventions as well as shortening the length of labor.
This is just an overview of which things to consider when thinking of a home birth. Midwives have spent years training to finally become individuals who can legally care for a mom and a newborn. We not only carry the basic stuff which includes a stethoscope or Doppler (device to listen to the baby’s heart beat), a blood pressure cuff, a baby scale, intravenous equipment, sutures but we also carry emergency equipment that includes oxygen, Pitocin among others, even though they are rarely used.
Finally, I’m not trying to convince anybody that home births are the way to go and that home births are the best thing. Home births may not be for everyone. I just want people to know what their options are when it comes to maternity care and that hospitals are not the only option for birth.