Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Life

November 18, 2012

WHOLE FAMILY: Keep on moving to help manage childbirth pain

I ended last week with this: “So next week I’ll go a little further and write about how to manage childbirth pain without Pharmacia. You might be surprised how simple — normal, natural — it is.”

Well, someone’s baby could not wait for this week, and my phone jangled with a call from a woman in early labor. Not her first baby, but she’d still be interested in hearing more about managing pain. I gave her my three if-we-don’t-have-time-to-go-over-everything best tips and bid her blessings as she birthed.

Did I mention I love my job?

You want those three best tips. Right. Well, they were nothing earth-shattering, but they’re as good a place to start as any. I told her this:

One — Keep moving as long as you can and want to. Despite many TV images and the sad state of many real-life births these days, women largely don’t like to be lying down in labor. So “movement” would be the one-word pain-management technique here.

Movement, means, of course, actually moving, but it can mean more.

If you watch a woman laboring unhindered, you might get dizzy. She sways, she squats, she paces. She’s often up one minute, down the next.  I even had a doula client once who walked on a treadmill and one who escaped to a vast outdoor porch for some walking and fresh air. (It took me a few panicked minutes to find her. How would I explain to the midwife I lost her client in those inky dark outdoors?)

The point is to move however your body wants to move or move at the advice of someone — a coach, midwife or anyone else in the know — who knows what movements might be advantageous.

Additionally, I think of “movement” in labor in at least two other ways: Changing positions fairly often and staying ahead of any tendency to fall into a rut.

Sometimes people ask about the BEST position for laboring. My answer, usually, is there IS NO ONE best position; it’s the fact you CHANGE positions that matters. A general rule of thumb is to change positions every half hour or so. Even the action of walking to the toilet, having a contraction there and walking back to a rocking chair counts as position change.

And the no-rut thing. Most labors have a “flow” of their own, and good birth attendants can “feel” it and adjust as necessary. It’s easy to get “stuck” somewhere in the middle, between the signposts, “Crud, I have to do this” and “$!*!$*! I cannot do this!” Frankly, I think I’d rather be at either end than the long middle.

Avoiding ruts is simple: Change it up. That sort of “movement” means try a new technique, fluff the pillows, change birth attendants for a while, open the blinds or shut them, get a new mantra, on and on. Just MOVE by doing something different.

Rhetorically: How do you get anything out of a tight spot? You either move the object itself or move what’s around it. When a laboring mother moves, she does both.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
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