PREG­NANCY 101: PAIN MAN­AGE­MENT DUR­ING LABOUR

In this preg­nancy class, Son­ali Shivlani helps you brave through those labour pains, and helps you ef­fec­tively man­age those con­trac­tions, to help with a smooth de­liv­ery

Mother & Baby - - CONTENTS -

Meth­ods to fol­low for a smooth de­liv­ery

For most women, es­pe­cially first-time moth­ers, it’s the pain they’re go­ing to en­dure dur­ing labour that wor­ries them the most. After all, there’s no doubt that they’ve heard plenty of sto­ries of hours of labour, or watched nu­mer­ous videos of women scream­ing in the de­liv­ery room, that the pain seems to get the bet­ter of them. This is ex­actly why, this ar­ti­cle talks about some of the pain man­age­ment meth­ods that you can opt for. Nat­u­rally, there are some phar­ma­co­log­i­cal meth­ods and some non­phar­ma­co­log­i­cal meth­ods you can choose from.

Med­i­cal In­ter­ven­tion

A phar­ma­co­log­i­cal method is also treated as an in­ter­ven­tion, as it in­ter­feres with the nat­u­ral process. How­ever, in some cases, it can be a bless­ing. Let’s start with the epidu­ral. This is an anal­gesic which is ad­min­is­tered in the lower back, and numbs all sen­sa­tion in the lower body. The con­trac­tions still pro­ceed as normal; the only dif­fer­ence is that, now, the nerves do not carry the pain sen­sa­tion to the brain. As it is ad­min­is­tered in the lower back, most moth­ers feel that it causes a per­ma­nent backache. How­ever, this is not true. Epidu­rals are used all over the world for most lower body surg­eries. If a woman in labour is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a lot of pain and dis­com­fort, and if she is pro­gress­ing slowly, then an epidu­ral may be the right choice for her as it can help to re­lax her. On the other hand, if labour is mov­ing well and she is cop­ing with the con­trac­tions, tak­ing an

epidu­ral can slow things down. It’s re­ally her de­ci­sion whether to take the epidu­ral or not. How­ever, she can take this call only dur­ing labour. An­other pop­u­lar pain man­age­ment op­tion is Entonox gas which is pop­u­larly known as laugh­ing gas, and is made of 50 per cent nitrous ox­ide and 50 per cent oxy­gen. These are nat­u­ral gases and are con­sid­ered safe for mother and child. An­other plus is that it is self ad­min­is­tered which means the mom takes it on an SOS ba­sis. The ef­fects are tem­po­rary and wears off very eas­ily. It can also make you feel sick or nau­se­ated. Many women find that tak­ing it for long du­ra­tions, can leave the mouth feel­ing very dry. There are some other drugs avail­able for pain relief dur­ing labour but these are in­jecta­bles and di­rectly get into the blood­stream. This af­fects the foe­tus as well, and un­less ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary, are not pre­scribed for women in labour.

No pain, more gain

While med­i­cal in­ter­ven­tion can def­i­nitely present some form of relief, for a truly nat­u­ral and won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence, let’s get to the main, and pos­si­bly most in­ter­est­ing, part of the dis­cus­sion —the non-phar­ma­co­log­i­cal meth­ods of pain relief. First and fore­most, the most im­por­tant thing to do is go in with a pos­i­tive frame of mind. The more re­laxed you are, the faster labour pro­gresses. Nat­u­rally, the op­po­site would mean pro­longed labour. But, be­ing re­laxed is eas­ier said than done. But, this small fact should not de­ter one from try­ing to achieve a state of calm and re­lax­ation, despite the labour. After all, birth is nat­u­ral, and as women, our bod­ies are de­signed to birth, so trust your in­stincts and the fact that your body knows what it has to do. It is also im­por­tant to plan who will be your birth com­pan­ion. This per­son is some­one whom you trust com­pletely, as well as some­one whom you can be com­pletely nat­u­ral with. Re­mem­ber, birth is phys­i­cal. You may also not re­alise what you are say­ing or do­ing. You don’t re­ally want to dwell on for­mal­i­ties and niceties at that time. For most women, the best birth com­pan­ion is their spouse. This is the per­son with whom you are phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally most com­fort­able. You may also want to con­sider hir­ing a pro­fes­sional birth com­pan­ion —a labour doula. These are qual­i­fied women who have been trained to sup­port and guide women dur­ing labour and birth. Now, here’s the tricky bit when it comes to giv­ing birth—don’t scream and shout. This just means you’ll use up all your en­ergy and tire quicker. Also, when you are scream­ing, you’re not re­ally breath­ing, adding to your ex­haus­tion. If that’s not all, your scream­ing might make your sup­port per­son and the med­i­cal staff a lit­tle ner­vous. In­stead of using your en­ergy to scream, di­rect it to help­ing you fo­cus on your breath­ing. Labour breath­ing is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent—short breaths using only your ch­est and not your ab­domen. We also en­cour­age in­hal­ing through the nose and ex­hal­ing through the mouth. This can ac­tu­ally help to re­lax you. How­ever, this may be dif­fi­cult in the be­gin­ning so don’t just start to use it dur­ing labour. It works best when it has been prac­ticed reg­u­larly. Moms who at­tend reg­u­lar preg­nancy classes, and who have prac­tic­ing this type of breath­ing a few times a week, for at least 12 weeks

prior to their due dates, re­port bet­ter pain man­age­ment suc­cess than moms who learn breath­ing tech­niques dur­ing work­shops. This is ex­actly why prac­tice makes per­fect. Re­mem­ber, if pos­si­ble, do move around in labour. This can ac­tu­ally help the baby get into po­si­tion faster. You can also prac­tice var­i­ous labour po­si­tions like half squats, using the ex­er­cise ball, strad­dling a chair, lung­ing, etc. You never re­ally know which po­si­tion will make you more com­fort­able, and at what time, so try­ing a few dif­fer­ent po­si­tions might just prove use­ful.

Ex­pe­ri­ence counts

Over the years, many women have let me in on some of their favourite labour pain­man­age­ment tech­niques, and even though they may sound bizarre, they can ac­tu­ally work. For ex­am­ple, one mum binge watched Friends dur­ing her labour while an­other mom prac­ticed chant­ing. One mom en­joyed her part­ner giv­ing her a lower back rub while an­other pre­ferred not to be touched at all. From pac­ing the hall­ways to belly danc­ing, do­ing breath­ing ex­er­cises to prac­tic­ing dif­fer­ent po­si­tions to make your­self com­fort­able, you can try it all. But re­mem­ber, some­thing that might help in the mo­ment, may not help an hour later. You def­i­nitely need a big bag of tricks to help with the pain man­age­ment. Pack a few mas­sage tools in your labour bag, carry your favourite mu­sic along; you could also con­sider some re­lax­ing es­sen­tial oils, like laven­der, which can soothe the senses. You can also eat and drink dur­ing labour. Just small tiny tit bits like sweets, glu­cose bis­cuits or just sip on cooled wa­ter. This will help you stay hy­drated as well as main­tain your sugar lev­els. Nat­u­rally, dis­cuss this with your doc­tor when you check in to the hos­pi­tal as eat­ing and drink­ing dur­ing labour is al­lowed, only if every­thing is pro­gress­ing nor­mally. Labour can be long, labour can be painful, but one this is for cer­tain, most women do not re­mem­ber the pain once they hold their baby in their arms. This is why fo­cus on pow­er­ing through. The rest, as they say, is his­tory!

M&B’s pan­el­list Son­ali Shivlani is an In­ter­na­tion­ally Cer­ti­fied Preg­nancy Con­sul­tant and a child nu­tri­tion coun­sel­lor. She is the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of CAPPA In­dia, and also trains as­pir­ing birth pro­fes­sion­als to achieve cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in preg­nancy, birth and lac­ta­tion coun­selling. If you have any con­cerns re­lated to preg­nancy, birth and the post­de­liv­ery pe­riod, Son­ali Shivlani will an­swer all your ques­tions through her col­umn. Do send in your queries to mbe­d­i­to­rial@gmail.com.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.