I was waiting to be admitted to my labor room when I heard the load moans and sometimes screams of the woman laboring a few doors down. Her voice filled the halls of the labor and delivery floor, and I have to admit it was annoying quite a few people. People were giving each other sideway glances that seemed to say, “Grief! Will that woman ever hush?!”
But inside I was thinking, “That poor woman. I wish I could share with her some ideas on a no-scream, natural birth.” Why? Because moms that choose to labor without medication really need a plan to help them focus and stay in control.
Some people think screaming is not a big deal when you are in labor, but screaming to me is the sound of a laboring woman losing control, focus and hope. And if you’re screaming, yelling or fussing at people, you are not relaxed. And a relaxed mom helps the labor process move more quickly and smoothly. I know…I have been there. During one of my labors, I begin having trouble breathing because the pain had grown so intense. The doctors immediately began giving me oxygen, which only frustrated me more and I had to choose right then and there that I would indeed calm down and stay strong through this pain. If I lost control and began lashing out in anger and pain, the situation would only grow more intense and complicated.
If you’re a little scared and intimidated about going the natural route during your labor and delivery, let me encourage you to do it! I learned so much from dealing and working through the pain. I learned how to depend on my husband and God even more than under normal circumstances. I also learned how fragile and weak I am, but with God’s strength and the help of others, I can be strong. I can deliver a baby naturally and scream-free. I can endure the pain until I hear my baby’s first cry. But, again, it’s not by my strength alone.
What is my scream-free plan for natural births? So glad you asked!
Scream-Free Plan for Natural Births
- Showers. Wow, I never knew the power of a hot shower until my second labor and delivery. Why didn’t someone tell me about this wonderful, awesome thing called a removable shower head during back labor? When my labor pains really kick in, I always ask the nurses if I can stay in the shower until my water breaks. As long as there are no risks, the nurses and doctors are happy to answer my request — as long as I am able to hop back on the monitor for a while to check on the baby. I literally turn up the heat to as hot as I can stand it and point it on the most painful part of my back. It’s amazing how much it helps to take the edge off!
- Tennis balls. These are great to help massage your lower back (where most of my labor pains were the worse) during labor. Ask your husband, close friend or mom to firmly roll those on your most painful spots. The more pressure, the better!
- Rocking Chairs. During my third labor, I was unable to take a shower because I was being given Pitocin. However, there was a rocking chair in the room and I hopped in that thing and rocked and rocked through my contractions. A nurse came in and said, “I hope you rock that baby in here fast!” and smiled. The doctor saw that it was helping me deal with the pain and didn’t want to dare ask me to move during routine checks. He just skipped them — unless absolutely necessary.
- Inspiration board or banner. About two months or so before your due date, create a banner or inspiration board with sayings to encourage you through the birthing process. Having those inspiring verses, quotes and encouragement to look at and read during the difficult time can help you find the inspiration to keep on going and not give up!
- Breathing techniques. These are like Mounds candy bars; sometimes they work — sometimes they don’t! For my first labor and delivery we did short and long breaths. I continued that pattern for my next labor as well, but used it less. From the third baby until number six, I just breathed slowly and grabbed and twisted something — the blanket, the hospital bed, my husband’s hand — poor guy! Have several breathing methods ready to see which one matches your specific laboring journey, as they are all so different!
- Baby items. I don’t know about you, but seeing the nurses pull in that baby incubator as they prepare for delivery gives me a second wind during the laboring process. You can enjoy that second wind earlier during labor if you bring a few items to remind you of your little one’s upcoming arrival! Your favorite baby outfit, the new stuffed animal, the new carseat…whatever items that you’re super excited to start using in motherhood. Place those in your laboring room to remind you that there is a purpose to this pain!
- Prayer. Through each of my labors, there were times when the pain was too much that it was especially difficult to verbally communicate with anyone. However, that is one super-awesome aspect to prayer. I didn’t have to speak to talk to God. I was able to pray in my heart and beg Him for grace and strength. I would ask Him to help me relax, even though my body wanted to tense up during each painful contraction. I prayed and asked Him to help me be kind and loving to the people who were trying to help me through this process — even though I wanted to kick a few of them. And of course, I asked God to speed up the labor process so I could finally hold my baby and be relieved from pain! Taking time to pray throughout labor is a special time of complete dependence on His strength when I am at the weakest in my life. He was there through every labor, and I could not help but give him praises and tears of thanks when my baby did arrive!
- Calming music. Some moms do really well with soothing music to help calm their nerves and relax. Dimming the lights helps too. Anything to create a more serene and relaxing ambiance.
- Swaying. During three of my labors, I asked my husband to stand up with me and just sway through contractions. It helped me kind of “move the pain” around and enjoy these moments of working with my husband to bring our little one into the world.
- Staying focused. When the pain gets overwhelming, try to focus on what is going on — your baby is coming! Remember those contractions are bringing this baby into the world. Constantly remind yourself to relax your body and not fight the contractions. If you feel like you are starting to lose control, ask your husband, coach or nurse to help you focus again. Soothing reminders from a friend is sometimes the push we need to keep on going!
Now, it’s your turn! Share with us on social media how you get through natural births scream-free! And, if you’re going to be a first-time mom — congratulations and may your labor, delivery and motherhood journey be a happy one!