Childbirth: Coping with Labor & Delivery - Pregnancy & Baby Plus

Another approach is to create patterns with the modified-paced breathing. This is patterned-paced breathing, useful if you are having a hard time concentrating. Create a pattern with your breaths by blowing softly at regular intervals. For example, use three breaths and then a blow, repeating throughout the contraction.

While slow-paced breathing is the most relaxing, any breathing pattern can be done at any point in labor. Use them flexibly, changing frequently just as you change positions frequently to avoid habituation and to make you comfortable. Combining breathing with counting or imagery involves your brain to an even greater degree and contributes to pain relief.

As your cervix is nearing full dilation, you may feel an urge to push. This is good news as it signals that you're getting closer to birth. At first, the urge to push usually occurs just at the peak of the contraction, then gradually spreads to the whole contraction. If you cannot resist the urge to push, gently begin to push when your body tells you to.

By the time the urge to push extends through the contraction, you'll probably experience renewed optimism. Now you'll be pushing or bearing down with each contraction. For most women, the urge is unmistakable, and your body will make very clear what you're supposed to do. Change positions to encourage the baby's movement through the pelvis. Squatting provides the widest diameter of the pelvis but can be very fatiguing. You can push standing, side lying, semireclining and on all fours.

Each labor and birth is unique. As you and your partner work together, you will find that certain combinations of activities work best. When you find something that works, repeat it through every contraction for as long as it helps. When a ritual stops being helpful, either modify it or create a new one.

Each contraction brings you closer to meeting your baby. Sing and talk to your baby to maintain the connection you've had during pregnancy.

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