Baby, you move me.
The advantage of moving freely during labor.
There are many schools of thought regarding the best approach to child birth, breathing techniques, medications, interventions, and visualizations, natural birth and hospital birth, home birth and birth center births. In the midst of so many options and so much conflicting information, it can be difficult to get clear about what will work for you. All choices in labor are powerful, and all ways of birthing are sacred. Choosing to have a labor where you are free to move, is a simple but profound choice. I have seen that when women choose movement they choose their own intuition, knowledge, and desires; they choose to listen to and trust themselves. With the support and help of doctors, midwives, nurses, doulas, and partners they navigate the waters of their birth with intention and flexibility. Few can deny that the messy miracle of birth is deeply moving to witness. My work as a doula has convinced me that when mothers are free to move, their emotional and physical connection to their work is strong, and the baby’s ability to move into the world is supported and eased: mother and baby are working together—moving each other.
Studies dating from the 70’s in the US, Latin America, England, and other countries, show that when women are free to move about during their labors the duration of their labor is significantly shortened, their need for pain medication significantly reduced, and incident of fetal heart abnormalities are markedly smaller (Janet Balaskas, “Active Birth”, p.13). Women all over the planet have followed this wisdom for thousands of years, reminding us in art, sculpture, images of the goddess, and oral history that an upright position or a squat allows the pelvis to expand and gravity to do her work.
Labor takes time and moves through stages and transitions. Mothers who change positions are able to flow with these changes. When baby is mal-positioned movement facilitates change—a sunny-side-up baby (OP position) will often spiral when mom takes a hands and knees position, or a kneeling lunge, and a breech baby (bum first) will sometimes summersault given a tilt position. When labor is slow or stalled, changing positions can bring on stronger and more consistent contractions. Whether struggling with back pain, failure to progress, or exhaustion, movement is an effective and safe way to proceed. When a mother is afraid, stressed, or overwhelmed, slow dancing with her partner can bring relief, support, and the endorphins that will shift her into active labor. If labor is moving too quickly, a change in position to side lying, can slow her labor and allow her to rest. Movement is an incredibly versatile and useful tool to bring to your birth.
In their book, “Creating a Joyful Birth Experience”, Lucia Capacchione and Sandra Bardsley state: “the word endorphin comes from the word endogenous, meaning ‘coming from within’ and morphine, the strongest painkiller available. Endorphins are your body’s own natural way of producing morphine. Endorphins indeed bring pain relief, but our bodies use them up quickly. Movement, in addition to breathing, is one of the best ways to continue to release endorphins (p.171). When a woman is free to move, when feeling overwhelmed or powerless, she has the opportunity to work with her labor and feel empowered by the intensity of her experience.
In your pregnancy you have learned that your baby is busy moving; he is turning, kicking, stretching, and hiccupping. This movement continues into labor, he begins to spiral, swim, and move down through the pelvic opening and the birth canal: he is focused on the work of being born. When you are moving, you can give your full focus to this work as well, while allowing the beauty and strength of your labor to move through you.
Iris Misciagna: Labor Doula: Strength Doula Services:
Strong hearts birth great things.
As a doula, I respect the skill and knowledge that you and your partner bring to your birth as well as the expertise of your doctor or midwife. I hope to add to the strength of your birthing team with my practiced and intuitive approach. I’m an experienced student doula in the process of completing my certification with BAI (Birth Arts International). I have completed a DONA approved Birth and Doula Training, Introduction to Childbirth for Doulas, and an intensive six month internship with Mother Tree Doula Services. I bring my strength and patience to the families I work with. I believe that women have a deep and instinctual ability to know the truth of what they need. It is my work to lend my skills and experience to the goals and needs of the laboring woman and her partner.
My services are sliding scale $0 – $300, and include prenatal and postpartum visits as well as consistent labor support. I have excellent references.
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