Too often, I hear women talk of their fear of childbirth, but it is this very fear that causes the pain. My first baby was a 30-hour saga of pain, stress and ineffective drugs. It took me 15 years before I had the courage to fall pregnant again, because I was so afraid.
Once I realised that giving birth was as natural to us as is eating or breathing or going to the toilet, I decided to eliminate my fear and work towards a pain free birth, which I have had, 3 times.
Here are 10 tips I’ve learnt through nearly 5 births for a natural, pain free birth
Have a birth plan.
If you don't have a plan, you will be at the mercy of someone else’s
Plan for changes or emergencies
Plan for all sorts of changes (like labour in the car, or your obstetrician being on holiday). These things happen, include them in your plan
Involve your partner in the birthing process
Allow your partner to be your right hand man, he communicates between you and the medical team, while you concentrate on birthing.
Stay as fit as you can
Birth is like a marathon; much easier the fitter you are
Eat for your baby, not for 2.
Nourish your baby, which will in turn nourish you; don't fall for the old wives tale of "I'm eating for two"
Stretch your perineum
Either by yourself or get your partner to push down on your perineum, stretching it every day or two so that it is supple and ready for childbirth
Involve water as much as possible
Water has an amazing calming capacity. I've birthed in the shower and in the bath - each time it has completely relaxed me.
Don’t push, breathe the baby out
Pushing has a stressful effect on your uterus, closing it up. Breathe big, deep stomach breaths and relax your groin, makes for much easier passage
Have some calming music
Start listening to some calming music before bed every night, the music you wish to play while you're birthing. Both you and your baby will train yourselves to calm down to it.
Work with gravity, not against it
Many women find that standing, squatting, kneeling are much better positions to birth in than the old doctors favourite, lying on your back.
Have a post birth plan
You’ll be left alone pretty fast, and the shock of this is worse than the shock of childbirth, have a plan for after the baby is born.
Sharny is the Author of Fit, Healthy, Happy Mum
Have you had a pain free birth? Share your tips below (or just comment, we love hearing from people - 5 kids means that this is our social life! lol)