Managing labor without drugs

Exercise: Identifying Your Lead System
Lie down comfortably, perhaps on your side with a pillow between your legs to accommodate the growing space between your hips, now that you are very pregnant. This exercise is best to do when you are approximately seven months pregnant. At this time you are eager to prepare for birth, and learning comes quickly.

Arrange for your partner or a friend to pinch you in the area of the fleshy part of your leg behind your knee. In this way you will experience pain and will have to accommodate to it in some way. Instruct your partner to gradually -- over the course of 60 seconds -- to build pain, until he or she is pinching you very hard. The pinch simulates a contraction in that it causes you to do something, either internally or externally, to adjust to it. If it does not challenge you, then your partner is being too gentle. You should feel a need to respond in some way to allow the pain to be present and then pass.

Give yourself sixty seconds to rest and relax before the next simulated contraction. Releasing between contractions is a very important part of the exercise.

Partner's instructions: Pinch under the knee, building from a gentle squeeze to a hard pinch in thirty seconds. Talk her through the simulated contraction, telling her that you are about to begin to squeeze before you do, then telling her when it is peaking and when it is beginning to fade. When you reach the maximum pinch at thirty seconds, hold it for approximately ten seconds, telling her it is peaking, then gradually loosening your hold, diminishing the squeeze, while telling her it is fading. The gradual fading should take twenty seconds. You should observe your partner exerting some effort to deal with the pain when it is peaking.

 

How did you respond to the pain? Did you hold your breath? Did you breathe harder, listening to your breath and your partner's voice? (auditory) Did you speak to yourself internally? (auditory) Did you tighten your hands into a fist? (kinesthetic) Did you use movement of any kind, such as hitting your hand on the couch? (kinesthetic) Did you want a cold or a hot compress? (kinesthetic) Did you use images to help you? perhaps nature scenes? (visual) Or sounds such as rushing water? (auditory) or faces of those you love? (visual)... If necessary, do the exercise again paying particular attention to your responses. If you found that you instinctively held your breath, do the exercise again, being certain to maintain your breathing continuously while observing what other ways you respond.

You may have identified already whether you favor an auditory, visual or kinesthetic response. The following exercises will help you to clarify which modalities will work best for you in labor. I encourage you to try all three, as well as combinations of auditory-kinesthetic, and auditory-visual-kinesthetic to see what works best for you.

NOTE: If there are any medical contraindications to this exercise, such as varicose veins, consult your doctor regarding a safe place to pinch.

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