Labouring is hard work, that is why it is called labour. So often we just want to lay back and hope it’ll go away but by embracing the hard work that lays in front of us, it usually is over quickly. This I have witnessed many times, let me tell you of the most recent.
A labouring young woman came into our care being in the early throes of established labour very distressed. Her contractions were long and doubling up. The doubling up of contractions means that presenting part is not in an ideal position, it’s a little kinked. This can make for a long labour. Being distressed can also make for a long and hard labour. To remedy this an active standing position was advised including a rocking movement so that the presenting part could rotate into a more favourable position and relax her, hence making the journey easier and shorter. The young woman listened, followed the advise and calmed down. Her contractions became more regular and progress was noted after 90 minutes by the woman experiencing pressure in her bottom.
At this stage she was getting distressed again, the pressure can be quite frightening and at this stage women either want to push or resist. Pushing to early can be damaging but at the same time it is what our body is telling us, so why not go for it? My take on this is; yes our body is telling us to do it but it is how we do it. Don’t force it! Our bodies need to relax at this stage. A good way to relax in labour is getting into water. Again a way to make the labour journey easier and shorter.
Getting in to the water made the young woman relax, I imagine the pressure in her bottom was more manageable because the water counterbalanced the pressure. Any urges to push were gone until shortly before she delivered her baby. She had a couple of involuntary pushing and then the baby’s head was visible. A few more involutary pushes and her baby was there in her arms.
She progressed from 5 cm dilation to delivering her baby in 3 hours. Now some of you are probably thinking she has done labour before but in fact, this was her first baby. Amazing, right!
Hearing from other and reading the textbooks on active positions and water births and their benefits is one thing, but to keep seeing it again and again for yourself is simply awesome.