You start to notice contractions, the time for delivery has arrived! You know this because, unlike those of Braxton-Hicks, which serve as training for the uterus, they are not isolated, but return after a while, and do not stop with rest.They are regular, rhythmic, painful (although the perception of pain is different in each woman) and longer (30-40 seconds or more, while those of Braxton-Hicks usually last about 20-25 seconds). In a first phase they will come every 10-15 minutes. Then its frequency will increase, as well as its intensity and duration. In any case, the countdown has begun, active dilation has begun.
Evolution of labor contractions
From this moment until you go to motherhood, when they come to you every 10-5 minutes, there will be a few hours in which you can practice various techniques and tricks to relieve pain and for contractions to better fulfill their mission.
And when you enter the hospital, you can continue practicing them in the room, with the help of your companion, as this will facilitate the delivery and help your child be born. Keep reading.
Water, a good help against the pain of contractions
“Its effects are great; water favors dilation and increases relaxation and the level of endorphins, which are like the analgesic that your body produces, ”explains Carme Roig, matron of the University hospital Arnau de Vilanova, in Lleida.
In fact, some centers apply a pain analgesia technique related to it: it is that when the delivery is already underway with a dilation of about 5 centimeters, the parturient enters a bathtub at a temperature not exceeding 37 degrees during maximum two hours
At home, what you can do is take a relaxing shower or a hot water bath.
Techniques that relax you during labor contractions
There are techniques that fulfill the function of reducing anxiety and pain perception. There are several, some are usually taught in preparatory classes.
One, for example, consists in becoming aware of your own body, “walking” through it mentally concentrating on each part, looking for those in tension to relax them. All accompanied by a leisurely breath in which exhaling the air also eliminates tensions.
Another is visualization: it’s about imagining situations that make you happy, concentrating on them. Think for example of your baby and that each contraction is one less left to be able to hug him.
The heat and massages, your allies against the pain of contractions
The application of heat in the painful area will calm you down. You can do it with an electric blanket or a hot water bottle.
Another very effective relief is the massage: they reduce the tension of the muscles because they improve blood flow and the pain is perceived as milder.
Ask your partner to press on the lower back or massage your legs from the ankles, you will see what change.
More soothing therapies against labor pain
There are some that can help you in childbirth, such as aromatherapy or music therapy. Its usefulness lies in the fact that by concentrating on the perception of other stimuli, you get distracted from pain, thus reducing anxiety and muscle tension.
However, these therapies will not help much if you try them for the first time at the moment, it is rather something that you should have already experienced during pregnancy.
Similarly, there are hypnosis classes that prepare you to reach a deep state of relaxation very useful right now.
Before the pain of childbirth, resort to movement
Everything that is moving greatly favors dilation, so go for a walk, go home …
“In the hospital we often see the situation of having a mother lying in a bed with a delivery that does not progress and that when she gets up to go to the bathroom, the dilation is reactivated,” says Carme Roig.
In addition, according to the Federation of Midwifery Associations of Spain, it has been shown that women who are upright in these first moments feel less pain, manage to shorten the dilation time and the baby has fewer alterations in heartbeats.
Moving the pelvis improves baby’s fit
Childbirth is something very dynamic: the baby’s head does not fall straight, but it fits in looking for the best positions, adapting to the diameters of your body. Therefore, moving and rotating the pelvis will help the fitting.
Going up and down stairs (in this way you move the sides of the pelvis), sit on a rubber birth ball and repeat swinging movements, even taking small jumps back and forth, catching and swinging or, standing, Rotate the pelvis as if you were moving a hula hop.
As for the positions to adopt, point out these ideas: to favor dilation, stand with your hands on the wall and leaning forward, swinging hips. If your lower back is very painful, it will relieve you catching. And on your knees or squat you help open the pelvis.
Anyway, the positions will change depending on what the body asks you. Sometimes you will be surprised wanting to squat, others will feel the imperative need to walk … Listen to your instinct.
“We often see that mothers move instinctively based on what the baby needs. Nature is very wise, ”says Carme Roig.
Forget the fear of childbirth
“Many times we are afraid of pain and the unknown and the bad thing is that fear paralyzes and blocks the muscles, reducing contractions and dilation. On the contrary, without stress everything goes better and even the need for pain relievers is reduced, ”explains the midwife.
A positive mood
A good way to combat it is to understand what happens in each moment (hence the importance of preparatory classes), be positive and accept contractions as a natural process. Focus on yourself and what you need, lean on your partner and, above all, trust yourself.
Control the way you breathe
The importance of breathing in dilatation and labor is very high and, as such, occupies a good part of the preparation classes. This is what it gives you:
Good breathing at the time of contraction pain increases the flow of oxygen from the placenta to the baby. And in the mother, increased oxygenation decreases muscle tension and prevents hyperventilation.
If you master your breath, you will feel that you control the situation much better and your body will relax. In addition, focusing your mind on the breath you are somehow distracting from the pain. Of course, you have to have rehearsed before.
Between contractions, breathing is normal. When the pain comes you have to concentrate so that it is deep and abdominal (expands the rib cage), filling the lower part of the lungs with air and exhaling slowly.
To the hospital, at the right time
It is the great doubt of many firsts. It is not advisable to go too soon, since at home it dilates better and even the expulsive there will be plenty of time. Follow these guidelines:
In a first pregnancy: If for an hour and a half followed you perceive contractions of about 30 seconds every 5 minutes, which do not stop with rest, it is time to go.
In a second pregnancy: Do not wait so long: as soon as you notice them every 10 minutes for an hour it is enough, because everything will go much faster. “Normally moms arrive at the hospital ahead of time. If everything goes well, I advise not to advance the trip, because at home it is always more relaxed and that greatly favors the process, ”explains the midwife.
Other cases in which you should go now: They are the following: if you have broken waters (if the water is clear there is no hurry, you can shower or finish the suitcase) or if you bleed (unless the bleeding occurs after a vaginal touch ).