I wrote down these tips up for the upcoming Birth Expo (March 1st at the Herman Key Center in downtown Charlottesville, 10am-2pm), but I thought that I would share them here also.
Many women experience labor slowing down when they get to the hospital. There are many reasons why this happens, but one of the main ones is that all mammals need to feel safe and secure for the birth process to progress normally. Making use of some of these strategies may help the mother to maintain oxytocin levels that will keep labor going- even after a change of scenery.
We've all heard stories about women who had "easy" labors. (Okay I'm going to say that labor is almost never "easy", everything is relative, right?) Maybe they were only at the hospital a few hours before the baby was born, or say that they didn't have a lot of pain with contractions, or even that they didn't know they were in labor and had the baby at home or in the car accidentally! Why is it that for some women, labor seems to be faster and easier than it is for others? Of course there is no one reason why women's experiences vary so greatly, because each individual woman and baby is unique. But there are a few factors that studies have shown to help reduce the duration of labor, even in first-time mothers. Some of these factors include exercising regularly throughout pregnancy, waiting for the onset of natural labor, staying mobile and avoiding an epidural, and having continuous labor support such as a doula present for labor and birth. Let's look at why each of these factors may help your birth to be "easier" than it may have been otherwise.
I look at birth from the perspective that our bodies are wonderfully made, and if we really believe that and work with the birth process and nourish our bodies properly, they will function optimally, most of the time!