I get this question quite often working with first-time moms. They want the easy labor without the epidural but they sometimes lack the confidence that they truly can achieve a medication-free birth. I’m not sure that “easy” is the best word to use in combination with the word “labor”. After all, labor is work! That said, if you prepare for labor and birth well in advance of your guess date, you’ll set yourself up for an easier transition into labor than if you didn’t prepare. And if you do the preparation in advance you’ll feel less stressed when you’re considering the question: “When should I go to the hospital for labor?”
So, how do you get realistic about the work of labor and birthing without shattering your vision for the perfect natural birth? If you’re wondering how to have an easy labor you’ve got to consider all the things that matter in your birthing experience. Basically, you need a birth plan.
What can a birth plan do for you? What I love about having a birth plan is that it helps you get really clear on how you want to give birth.
Here are some questions to consider: What do you want your labor to look like? How do you want your partner to support you? If you really want to know how to have an easy labor, you’ve got to know what “easy” means to you? Does it mean laboring in whatever position feels right, intuitively? Does it mean laboring in the water? Does it mean having lots of tools like a birth ball or a sling or a rebozo to help you labor in positions that will help to bring your baby down into the birth canal? Does an “easy” labor mean laboring at home as long as possible until you’re nearly 10 cm dilated so you can focus on pushing at the hospital or birth center?
It’s really important to know what your desires are, what your non-negotiables are, and how you want your partner to support you. When you know these three things, then you can really start to figure out what an “easy” supported labor looks like for you. For example: Do you want to hire a birth doula to support you through the labor and birth? Would it make sense to find online childbirth classes that would be a good fit for you and your partner so you could learn the information on your own schedule?
Maybe you need more tips for natural birth. When you’ve never given birth before, it’s hard to imagine sometimes what natural birth might look like. I really encourage my clients to focus on learning the positive stories about natural birth. One of the books I recommend to my clients is Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. I love this book because it is filled with positive, empowering birth stories.
Maybe a “natural” birth isn’t what you’re looking for and that’s fine too. That said, it’s important to remember that no matter what your plan is for dealing with the contractions or the “pain”, there will inevitably be some time during labor that you’re at home. And that is worth thinking about!
Thinking about how to have an easy labor really has to do with thinking about your values and considering what “easy” means to you. How are you going to feel the most relaxed in labor? Does the idea of out-of-hospital birth make you too nervous? Or vice versa: Does the idea of hospital birth make you feel stressed and anxious? There is no right answer other than what’s right for you personally and as a birthing couple.
In working with my clients I find that the most important element is transparent discussion between you and your partner about your expectations for labor and birth. I cover this topic in my online childbirth classes so that you can discover as a couple how you’re going to work as a team when Labor Day arrives.
How do you know which online childbirth classes to take? I’m biased of course, but honestly it depends what you’re looking for. There are several different methods of preparation for birthing out there, including HypnoBirthing, Lamaze, and the Bradley Method to name a few.
What I love about what I teach is that I teach couples how to make decisions as a team. If your life partner is going to be your main labor support, then before you jump into a class you’ve got to be in alignment with your vision for your labor and birth.
In a nutshell, I teach couples how to get really clear on the “how”, “where”, and with “who” they want to labor. In my online childbirth classes, we basically create a roadmap that makes it easier to bypass bumps in the road. The clients I work with have a solid birth plan and the best part is they know how to pivot when the bumps show up (sorry, couldn’t help saying “bump”). 😉
Want more information about the online childbirth classes I offer? You can get more information here: https://peaceful-pregnancy-joyful-birth.teachable.com/p/birthplanningcoursesummer/
Thinking about taking a HypnoBirthing course? If you’re local to Minnesota, I highly recommend the hands-on courses offered by Flutterby. You can learn more here: https://www.flutterbybirth.com/