By Lata Jha:
They could probably want to claw out your eyes and mine for discussing it without having gone through it ourselves. But as reports would have us believe, getting through labour pain for mothers now is not the torture it used to be. Today there are quite a few ways to manage the pain and thankfully there are more than a few people who are willing to explore these options.
‘Hypnobirth’, for instance, is a self hypnosis technique that mums-to-be use in order to mentally programme themselves to stay calm during childbirth. Unless the body is absolutely relaxed during labour, it will not release ‘oxcytocin’, a pain relieving hormone that stimulates the uterus. Its absence obviously translates into greater pain. Nowadays, many ‘anti-natal’ classes are offered by various hospitals and wellness centres to help expectant mums prepare. Basically, it’s a matter of learning the right tools and understanding the entire process of childbirth. Popular alternative therapies like hypnotherapy, pre-natal yoga, aromatherapy, reflexology, acupressure, traditional body massages, visualisation method and breathing exercises help make labour painless and post-delivery recovery faster.
Besides yoga, Lamaze classes can help. This is a technique which instils confidence in a woman’s mind that she is perfectly capable of delivering her baby without too much pain. It is also said that the presence of the partner during the delivery also has a very powerful impact on a woman. It helps her divert her attention from the pain, and as a result she feels more comfortable, relaxed and confident.
Then there is the doula. A Greek word, it means ‘women who serve‘ and refers to a labour coach who assists the family and especially the parent during the entire birth process. During the contractions, a doula helps you breathe out long deep breaths, massages your tension points, helps you relax, plays soothing music, burns lavender to help calm your nerves and gives you the strength and the self confidence to know that you can do it. Water also works pretty well for childbirth. When you deliver in a water pool, the buoyancy of the water counter pressures contractions, thereby reducing the pain and length of labour.
The birth of a child is always special. What now adds to the joy of the event is that the mothers do not have to see it as a task; they can be as much a part of the happiness as everyone else.