What We Can Do in Birth
If we have prepared and learned skills for birth, then we can use internal and external factors, like pain, as a reminder to re-engage with our positive efforts.
We can breathe effectively and in a relaxed manner.
We can use our breath to renew ourselves with an inhale, and to reduce any tension with an exhale.
We can use our breath as a focus.
We can maintain and recapture relaxation and softness inside our bodies.
We can maintain a body posture that facilitates the experience and helps the baby descend through the body.
We can become aware internally, to explain what is happening, either while in labor or afterward.
We can use touch to appropriately facilitate our experience.
We can help others know how to assist us.
We can make certain we go into labor feeling rested.
We can focus our mind on the task at hand—labor—and let other things sit to the side until a more appropriate time.
We can focus moment to moment. We can say, “I know what I’m doing.”
We can say, “If I lost it for a moment, I got myself back on track.”
We can say, “I didn’t necessarily like the experience, but I managed myself well.”
We can have a sense of humor.
And after the birth we can say, “No one knew more about my birth than I did.”
What we might do that makes birth more difficult.
Tighten up in our muscles.
Elevate our breathing rate, breathing shallowly and irregularly as we react to racing, accelerated feelings.
Become fixed or unbending in our legs.
Fix our attention on one thing, such as “pain.”
Lose clarity in our focus on the activity.
Create a negative association with the intense (though natural) sensations.
Become reactive to our feelings of anxiety, instead of responding to them with trust and applying skills.
Birthing well is an internal experience.
The “things we can do” for birth are important ways we can respond to the moment, and are normal human behaviors that can either be instinctive or learned and honed to our greater benefit. When we find sensations to become too intense, or external factors too distracting, we are tempted to resort to reactive behaviors that make birth more difficult. If, however, we have prepared and learned skills for birth, then we can use internal and external factors, like pain, as a reminder to re-engage with our positive efforts.
Even in adverse situations, the more you employ positive responses, the better your birth experience will be. A good birth will have much more to do with how you work through the activity, rather than with what goes on around you.
It is a great source of power and achievement when we choose positive ways to respond to the internal and external challenges of birth. We will have innumerable moments to make this choice. It is infinitely easier to make positive choices when we have the skills and the support of a teammate to do so.