It’s going to hurt…there’s no way around it. The fact is, we are preparing you to walk through the doors of your hospital for the guaranteed painful experience. The good news is that you will have options! Giving birth in the 21st century provides you with viable options to manage the pain. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for avoiding interventions….your body is built to give birth, I recommend giving it a fair shake at what it was built to do. On the other hand, if you are having the typical long, first baby labor, are no longer making progress and running out of steam, you may need to make new decisions about pain management. Maintaining a flexible attitude, working with the healthcare team, and distinguishing between coping and suffering are paramount. McMoyler Maneuvers: these are places and positions to be out of the labor bed, to assist your body in making progress and engage your mind through what can feel like ball buster contractions (sorry, but it is a pretty good analogy.) This is when partners are key in supporting you to be “Up, Walk, Rock and Keep the Pelvis in Motion.” This ‘McMoyler mantra’ is a good focus and helpful as you work through the many hours of labor…if, however, the time comes when the body and mind, the baby and the uterus have become fatigued to the point that labor is at a standstill, it is time to re-assess and switch gears. It may be time for hi-tech to take its turn. We call this getting wired for sound: when there is something going into or out of every orifice of the body. Not necessarily a romantic take on birth- and sometimes necessary to get to the end result: baby in your arms. I would rather present reality based information prenatally, so that you have time to digest and discuss all the possibilities for how this day of labor may unfold. Believe me, I have been the nurse at the bedside with couples who had no idea what the “tools of the trade” were and why they were being used.
To summarize, let me say from experience, that it is so much more productive and helpful to enter this day knowing the options, that you can decide along the way what you need as you need it and that the labor and delivery team is there to help guide you-they are professionals who do this every day and do it well. They have the same goals you do: Healthy Moms/Healthy Babies!