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Childbirth is usually a joyous occasion during which a new life arrives in the world for the first time. But make no mistake; it can be a challenging, and sometimes distressing experience for nervous mothers. Intense pain can be caused by contractions, and the passing of a baby through the pelvis can also lead to distress. However, there are ways to make the entire process far more comfortable – here are five of the most effective.
1. Devise a birth plan in advance
While it is always best to be prepared for every eventuality when planning for the birth of your child, a birth plan will help you to feel more comfortable and relaxed throughout the experience. You can include factors such as the pain relief you want, or whether you want specialist equipment such as a birthing ball or pool. You will also get to have your say on the method of delivery if intervention is required, which may involve a choice of the ventouse or forceps method.
Talk with your midwife or consultant about your preferences, and make sure you decide on a birth plan that meets all your requirements and preferences. However, be ready to change it, as the process of labour can be very unpredictable.
2. Stay active
Only you can know the best position for giving birth, so it’s important that you listen to your body. A good midwife will ask you which position feels most comfortable. It may be that you find relief by getting on all fours, or you might want to lean on a birthing partner and sway back and forth. However, it’s always a good idea to change position slightly every few contractions, as this can free up vital space – allowing baby to navigate through the birth canal more freely. Antenatal classes will provide you with crucial coping strategies and breathing techniques that should make your labour a lot easier.
3. Rest and prepare between contractions
After the passing of each contraction, take a deep breath and then slowly exhale. Let your body go limp, and try to let the tension dissipate. It’s very important that you use the gaps between contractions to rehydrate, as labour can cause profuse sweating and water loss. Ask your midwife to help you move into more comfortable positions between contractions, so you give your body the best chance possible to relax and recharge for the next contraction. Staying relaxed and comfortable is crucial in allowing your baby to pass through the pelvis without incident.
4. Compile a labour playlist
Your midwife or consultant will tell you that being relaxed and as comfortable as possible during labour is the best way to ensure things run smoothly. To that end, choose some of the songs that you like to listen to whilst unwinding. It may be that smooth ballads have the desired effect, but don’t be swayed in your decision. If you like to listen to rock music when relaxing, add that to your labour playlist. You may also find that sound effects can have a soothing effect on the senses – they might include sounds of the ocean or countryside.
5. Arrange a room at a private maternity hospital
A private room at The Portland Maternity Hospital gives you your own en-suite bathroom and a range of services that wouldn’t look out of place in a top hotel. There is a selection of deluxe and suite rooms available, so you can make your stay that extra bit special – and have your partner stay with you throughout the entire process. The added seclusion and comfort that this type of accommodation offers should allow you to relax and savour the experience to its fullest.
Having a baby is the most beautiful and natural thing in the world, but there is no doubt that it can take a toll on the body. But with a little planning and the right facilities, you can ensure that your childbirth experience is as comfortable as it can be.