When you're pregnant, one question that will never stop popping up is: Am going to be able to handle the pain of giving birth?
At the "Smart Parenting Baby Shower," which we co-presented with Belo Baby, at Crown Plaza Galleria, doula Betty Lugay-San Luis of Birthing is Blessing shared techniques that can help pregnant women cope with labor pain. She knew what she was talking about; after all, she is a mom of five, and she gave birth to each one naturally.
Doula Betty said the support of her husband, Manny, was vital in all of her five births. It's those incredible five births that led her to her job today: Help expecting moms and dads and their respective families prepare for birth. "During my time, ang naalala ko lang talaga are two key things that I did: I breathed and I relaxed," she shared. It’s not so complicated, as long as you eat right and do some exercice. "Pero it was also more than that. The preparation really took my body, heart, and spirit," Doula Betty stresses.
If you opt not to receive drugs for labor pain, here's Doula Betty's tried and tested tips for coping with labor pain.
1. Feel loved, safe, and secure. Have your partner or family member present to help you in your birthing journey. It helps that they also understand what's going on in your body, so they know how best to support you. 2. Take time and slow down. During your pregnancy, check what relaxes you, what helps you to get in touch with yourself. It could be walking, journaling, or a cup of coffee. Don't be afraid to have alone-time, "kasi in those slow-gear time, mas lumalabas yung creativity natin yung confidence natin, yung belief natin sa sarili," Doula Betty said.
During pregnancy, bond with the baby in your womb. Talk to him, play with him, let him hear your voice or play him songs. Doula Betty shares that the songs that were played when her youngest child was still in the womb calmed her down when she came out
Be conscious of your breathing. Take time to breathe and concentrate on breathing properly. Always try to breath slowly from the abdomen and not from the chest. "When we inhale, the belly should rise because you’re filling it with air. Hindi nagmamadali," Doula Betty illustrates. Here are the types of breathing you can do, depending on the stage of labor. 3. Early labor In the early stage, when you can still ignore the contractions, inhale and exhale through the nose. Breathing sends oxygen to the different parts your body and most importantly to your baby. "'Pag may contraction lesser oxygen flow yan, kaya mahalaga humihinga tayo," she stresses. 4. Active labor When the contractions become a little bit more intense, inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. "If there’s a candle in front of you, blow lightly na magfi-flicker lang yung apoy," Doula Betty illustrates. Inhale for four counts and exhale for about six to eight counts. "Take your time to exhale kasi nga yung stale air yung naiiwan e, so kailangan dahan-dahan lang," she added. 5. Transition phase When you're already eight to ten centimeters dilated, your breath becomes shallower naturally. It's not technically a new breathing technique, but Doula Betty recommends continuing to "do your slow breathing pero medyo mas mabilis na siya kasi hindi ka na makakatagal."
When you're starting to push your baby, feather breathing is most helpful. Feather breathing sounds like you're panting, wherein you exhale as slow as you can while letting out one-syllable sounds. Doula Betty says no need to accelerate your breathing "kasi yung adrenalin hormone has the fetal injection reflex," which will help you push the baby out.
Explore relaxation techniques It's the reason why you need to discover what really relaxes you during your pregnancy. It differs for each mom, so do what works for you. Consider the following: 6. Visualization Think of your own birth affirmation. "What is a phrase that can give you comfort or ease?" asks Doula Betty. An example could be, "All is well," and say it every time you exhale. 7. Aromatherapy Try the scents while you're still pregnant to see how you would react to it. It could prevent any unexpected allergic reactions. Try massage oils such as lavender and peppermint. 8. Music therapy Make a playlist of songs that make you feel good and play it during labor. Music can help distract you from the pain or help you with your breathing. If dancing helps you, then go for it. 9. Hydrotherapy While not all pregnant women can delivery via water birth (click here to check if you're a candidate), Doula Betty suggests using a tabo to pour water over yourself during contractions, if you're doing a home birth. "You can also take a warm shower, or do warm or cold compress for pain," she suggests. 10. Prayer and meditation Some women get strength in prayer during labor. Meditation also helps for some women. It can help to set one's mind frame to the task at hand. 11. Use labor positions "Kadalasan these are leaning positions kasi yung uterus natin naka-tilt. It helps when you rock from side to side or do your belly circle," Doula Betty advises. A belly circle is when you draw a circle using your tummy. You can also use an exercise ball during labor, she adds. (Click here to know more about positions that can help ease labor pain.)
For inquiries about Doula Betty's birthing classes, visit Birthing is a Blessing's Facebook, call (0916)520.5787, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.