Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Sounds of Labor

In the movies, labors are very noisy with moms screaming at her support people, the medical staff or to no one in particular. But is that an accurate depiction of a labor?  No.  However, labor does have it's own unique sounds.

Some moms find it best to stay very quiet during contractions and just sink into a quiet world while their body and their babies do the work.  Some use rhythmic breathing patterns to focus during contractions. Some find low moaning to be comforting.  And some are more vocal with loud expressions.

I feel all the above are fine.  A mom in labor has to figure out what works for her - and in some cases their own sounds have to give them some type of a platform to stay above the "noise" of their labor going on inside.  The down side to this is that they usually notice a throat that feels a little raw once the baby is in their arms.

How should support people react to the sounds. First of all - allow her to do what feels best to her. But there are times when added direction can be helpful.  If a mom's sounds are in the high, nasal range, I encourage her to bring them low and deep - describing it like a "mama bear in a cave"..  Upper range has a more hysterical feeling whereas the lower range has a more powerful feeling.

If a mom is making sounds that are heading in a more "desperate" direction,  describing that she is feeling "lost", "scared", "in pain", then I try to direct her in a more positive direction of sounds.  When she is saying "no", I encourage "yes"....when she is saying, "this is painful", I may suggest, "this is working" and if she is expressing feelings that she is scared, I acknowledge her fears but then suggest that she is surrounded by support and that she has the ability to do this.  That she is okay.

So - whether you are at a birth that is very quiet - or in a room filled with sounds, remember to respect laboring moms' right to make sounds.  And enjoy the end result - the sound  of a newborn baby!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Medical Team

I was attending a birth yesterday and it reminded me of the contribution a good nurse can make to a great birth outcome.  This nurse was friendly, helpful and loved to support natural births.  She really brought a sense of teamwork to the room.

This birth, as noted by the doctor who caught the baby, was such a peaceful birth.  It was so quiet in the room during the pushing (and there were about 6 members of the medical staff present) that it was funny when someone's pager suddenly announced "low battery".  In the end, everyone was able to share a wonderful birth.

The laboring mom and dad contributed the most to this working process.  But having such caring support from doctors and nurses can make such a difference to how the birth feels. 

So if you are delivering your baby at a hospital, bring the nurses a gift (they love food) and invite them to share their experience and knowledge with you to support your birth.  I always view the nurses as a wealth of information and creating a cooperate team for the laboring mom is so important.  Don't view them as someone to keep out of the room - but someone who can help give you the experience you are working to achieve.