I‘m sure you’ve heard the horror stories about prolonged labours (slow labour), that is labour lasting around 20 hours or more, or around 16 hours or more if you’re having twins.
During this time both the expectant mother and the birthing partner will go through multiple emotions of exhaustion, strength, panic, anger, relaxation, crying, laughing, excitement, frustration, and so on. You’ll surely be thinking “I was told this could happen, but I hoped my labour would be quick and easy”. Well during childbirth and labour there are no guarantees on how long your labour will last, how much pain you will feel and how smoothly it will go for you. You just have to go with the flow of what your body is telling you and do what you feel is the right thing for you and your baby.
What is known though is that prolonged labour puts you at a higher risk of having a clinical intervention such as a caesarean section. It could also cause your baby to have low oxygen levels, a uterine infection, an abnormal heart rhythm.
There are 3 key things that you can do to support the progress of your labour.
1. Stay relaxed
It’s important that you remain calm and relaxed throughout labour. The more stressed you become the less oxytocin your body will produce, and you need lots of the oxytocin hormone during labour as that’s what will contract your uterus and promote the progress of your labour.
Remember to breathe the right way. Taking long, slow breaths from the abdominal area will help to increase the amount of oxygen for you and your baby and release a sense of calm throughout your brain and body. This will tell your muscles that you are not in fight or flight mode making your muscles much more relaxed. Tight muscles cause more pain during labour, so you need relaxed muscles.
3. Listen to soothing music or hypnobirthing recordings
What you hear affects your state of mind. If you hear nurses, midwives, and those around you panic or say negative things then your mind will absorb what you hear, and your body will react accordingly. Nine times out of ten this will cause you stress and anxiety putting you into fight or flight mode. So, put on your headphones or take a music dock into the labour room with you and play your soothing music or listen to a hypnobirthing recording. This way you are more likely to stay in a more relaxed state which helps the production of oxytocin.
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