5 Secrets for an Easier Labor
By Alan Lindemann, MD
You’ll have many wonderful memories of being a mom, but those of being in labor likely won’t be among them. That said, how might mothers make their labor easier? As an obstetrician with more than 40 years of experience, here is my advice for making labor easier.
1. Let your baby decide when to be born. For many women, labor tends to start and stop. It may take longer to let your baby decide when to be born, but you and your baby will fare better with a labor and delivery that avoids as much technological intervention as possible.
2. Avoid being tethered to the bed. Walking around often helps to promote labor. If you have all kinds of monitors attached to yourself and IVs in your arm, you’re unable to get up and do what’s best for advancing your labor: walking. Plus, being able to walk around tends to moderate fear.
3. Labor works best without fear. Some doctors don’t understand that fear stops labor. We know this is true for animals in labor—if they become afraid or detect a predator, their labor will stop. Often, when women enter the hospital for labor and delivery, their fear will tend to stop their labor. To alleviate fear, it helps if the familiar face of the physician you have being seeing throughout your pregnancy meets you at the hospital. Ask your physician if a familiar face will meet you when you get to the hospital.
4. When not in active labor, eat what you feel like eating. Sometimes women in labor are not allowed to eat, possibly because there is always the fear that emergency surgeries may become necessary. In natural labors, when contractions may stop for a while before starting up again, laboring women should be allowed to eat if they feel like it.
5. Avoid Pitocin if at all possible. Pitocin creates hard contractions that are so painful that epidurals become necessary. On a fetal monitor, Pitocin contractions show a steep increase into a sharp point followed by a sharp decline—a type of contraction that can be ineffective in labor. Natural labor contractions, on the other hand, show a slow increase into a wide bell curve and a slow decline. A natural labor contraction is painful, but less painful than those created by Pitocin, and women can often manage the pain of natural contractions without an epidural.
An obstetrician and maternal mortality expert, “Rural Doc” Alan Lindemann, MD, teaches women and their families how to create the pregnancy and personal health outcomes they want. A former clinical assistant professor at the University of North Dakota, he served as a clinical faculty member and preceptor with medical students in rural rotations. In his nearly 40 years of practice, he has delivered around 6,000 babies and achieved a maternal mortality rate of zero. Learn more at lindemannmd.com.