First Emotional Signpost: Excitement
This stage will come early in the process, when you first begin to have contractions. The work will become progressively more difficult and require more of your attention. But, on the whole, the laboring mother is able to enjoy a good joke and moves with a light excitement. And, although this signpost can begin at the very start of labor, it may last quite a while. This is the fun part of labor. Enjoy it – Do not go to the hospital or birthing suite. It is very much too soon.
Partners: Is she is quick to smile, elated, and excitedly nervous, be prepared that she still has a way to go before you are going to meet this baby. Your job is to make sure she remembers to eat, sleep and breathe deeply. Savor this stage, enjoy the excitement, and by all means – STAY AT HOME. If you think she is working hard, and you decide to go to the hospital – take the camera test (if she can smile and pose for the photo – STAY AT HOME).
Second Emotional Signpost: Seriousness
Somehow, excitement will give way to seriousness, often without your knowing exactly when this happened. Concentration is required with each contraction. You have to put forth a real effort to relax and breathe deeply. These contractions are often a minute long. The serious emotional signpost is total absorption in the work at hand, a do-not-disturb attitude.
Partners: This is when you should become serious too. Do not wait for her to become desperate to start working with her! Follow her cues, and match her pace. The trick is to stay on top of the contractions and maintain a rhythm. The primary goal is total relaxation at all times.
Third Emotional Signpost: Self-Doubt
Your uterus now shifts into high gear and does the most difficult piece of the work, the final stretch from 7 to 10 centimeters. Your self-absorption changes tenor and your partner is often the first to notice an uncertain, indecisiveness to your mood. You become unsure of what you want, how you are doing, and lose confidence in your ability to do this. You answer “I don’t know” to most questions. Your contractions may be 90 seconds long with a reduced rest period between them. Your ability to relax and rest becomes severely challenged. You may have hot and/or cold flashes; you may burp, shake, vomit, and/or not want to be touched. This is when relaxation is most helpful. The goal is to concentrate on a super limp body.
Partners: Although she looks to you like she is doing a fine job, she may begin to lose confidence and lose her rhythm. Remember, the hurdle here is an emotional one. This is your time to give her all of your support, positive encouragement and your confidence. This is often the most blundered part of labor. She will follow your lead. Although it is difficult to have confidence in labor and birth when your experience with it is limited, this is when you need to show her how much you believe in her and in the process (even if it means that you need to exaggerate your confidence). This is a short stage.
Adapted from: Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way, by Susan McCutcheon-Rosegg with Peter Rosegg
SIX PROGRESSIVE STEPS TOWARD LABOR
*Cervix moves down and forward
*Presenting part rotates into position
SIGNS OF LABOR (not necessarily imminent)
*Increase of vaginal discharge
*Baby drops down further into pelvis
*Pressure or aching in pelvis or thighs
*Low, dull backache
*Cramps similar to stomach ache or menstrual
*Loose bowel movements, diarrhea or nausea
*Loss of mucous plug
*Restlessness, an unsettled feeling
*Contractions are irregular and short
*Contractions don’t get closer together
*Contractions don’t get progressively stronger
*Walking brings no change
*No change in cervix
*Contractions are regular
*The time between contractions become
..... progressively shorter
*Contractions become progressively stronger
*Walking makes contractions even stronger
*Cervix effaces and dilates
IF MOTHER IS STILL NOT SURE…
*Change positions. If she is sitting, get up and move
..... around. If she is up, lay down for a while.
*Drink a pint of water and/or eat.
*Use the bathroom.
*Take a shower.
Positions for Giving Birth
Benefits of Bradley Classes