I thought our class was pretty interesting because they had us simulate being uncomfortable, as if we were having a contraction. We actually got to experiment with different coping mechanisms in an actual labor room to see what we liked or didn't like. The instructor played a tape that randomly beeped when there was a "contraction" coming along. She talked in between, giving us different ideas, then all the sudden, the beeping would start. We had to grab crushed ice from a cup and hold it in one of our hands. We weren't able to let go until the beeping, or "contraction," stopped. The ice was to simulate how uncomfortable and distracted you can get during a contraction. We had to try different ways to cope through the uncomfortableness. I thought this was a really great simulation, but I was burning up in the room so the ice actually felt a little refreshing. Now, if I were to have had to hold it for another minute, I probably would be telling a different story.
Here are some of the different positions and/or techniques we were given the opportunity to try:
Standing Supported Squat
Pro: Takes advantage of gravity
Con: May be tiring for you and your partner
Sitting on Toilet (for reals. It sounds gross, but our instructor said it was actually one of the most comfortable ways to labor)
Pro: Helps relax perineum
Con: Pressure from the seat may not be comfortable
Pro: Good for resting
Con: May not be possible if you have high blood pressure (I don't.)
Squatting with Birth Ball
Pro: May increase pelvis diameter by as much as 2 centimeters
Con: Can be tiring
Pro: Helps get oxygen to the baby
Con: No help from gravity
Pro: Contractions are often less painful
Con: Cannot be used with electronic fetal monitoring (since you need to be next to the machine)
Pro: Contractions are more effective and less painful
Con: Hard for nurses/doctors/midwives to see the baby
Leaning or Kneeling Forward with Support
Pro: Contractions are often less painful and more productive
Con: Hard for nurses/doctors/midwives to help with birth
Pro: Good position to avoid tearing or episiotomy
Con: Hard for you to see what's going on (this might be a pro for some people, actually)
Things to Try
*Listen to music
*Sitting in shower
*Sucking on a lollipop
After each "contraction," we had to share if we liked the technique we tried (we switched techniques every time). I think it's hard to decide now what I'm going to like when I'm actually in labor. To me, walking was such a chore and a strain on my body since I'm carrying all this extra weigh around, but it supposedly reduces pain during labor. I won't really know if I like it until I'm actually in the situation. However, it was really extremely helpful to know all the options we have during labor.
It was also beneficial because it got B and I talking about what I liked/didn't like, and how he can be there for me. For instance, I know for sure that I got annoyed when B asked me what he could do. I know he felt like he was "supposed" to do something, but just having him there talking about whoknowswhat to distract me, made me completely forget about the ice. Also, the time I sucked on the lollipop (in a rhythmic/counting pattern) I didn't even realize I was holding the ice. Gotta go buy me some in bulk!
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