Getting Comfortable in Labour...(as in really comfortable)

Getting comfortable in labour - I mean really comfortable - isn't something I find many pregnant women give much thought to. 

Comforting the mind is crucial but being physically relaxed is equally key to a smooth labour.

It's an aspect all activebirth/yogabirth teachers found their classes on. This is because we know that when a mother is comfortable, she finds space.

When she finds space, she feels ease.

When she feels ease, she feels confident.

When she feels confident, she feels safe.

With opportunities to get comfortable easily to hand, when the mother has every chance to stay loose and breathe out, birth starts to make sense. It becomes DO-able. Tension evaporates. Thinking is of no interest. Contractions build in strength and the body agrees to have a baby.

So bear this in mind.

It's not about preparing positions in advance, because it doesn't work like that. Birth is by definition spontaneous. But do give some thought in advance to what you COULD do and where you might place yourself:

- having a strategic pillow on your kitchen side (perfect height), so that you can stand supported, and sway your hips

- a towel folded on the floor of the shower, so you can be on hands and knees and feel the warm water cascade down your back

- have something good and supportive to sit on and a big firm pile of sofa cushions/pillows (a bean bag if you have one) to lean forward on and give your whole weight to.

Once upon a time, we used to have these foam-edged buckets (see picture) in our classes. Wonderful active birth teacher and Ruth Armes taught me this years ago. She, along with countless other teachers would show prospective parents the miracle-levels of relief that could be brought by straddling-squatting on one of these. Elegant it isn't, but comfortable? It's perfect, a piece of birth-brilliance... a toilet without the downsides.

I had my husband make me one up again this week and took it to class, and my did the mothers feel the benefits...

The other tip to remember is if you are leaning forward on a sofa or your bed, make sure to have a firm cushion, bolster or a couple of pillows wedged between your bottom and calves...