Sometimes "comfort measures in labor" feels like an oxymoron. Comfort in labor?! But with local birth and postpartum doula (& mom), Ashley Collins of Little Bee Birth Partner as our guide last Saturday at New Mamas group, we learned that there are things laboring moms and their partners can do to help offset labor pains.
Ashley started us off talking about the importance of changing positions in labor. But as she said, "use them wisely,". Long lunges down the hallway, for example, might feel great in early labor but as labor progresses, that position will likely tire you quickly. It would be hard for a first time mom and partner to know that but this is where a birth doula like Ashley comes in. A birth doula is there specifically for support, ideas and resources...all for a woman in labor. She'll know when to suggest a new position and have other ideas in her doula bag too.
A couple other easy ideas that Ashley likes are:
- Get a head scratcher. I don't know about you but I LOVE having my head scratched! Ashley likes to use a head scratcher in early labor to relax moms.
- Create a "birth cave"- Ashley likes to build one for laboring moms with Christmas lights as a way to soften the space of a hospital room as well as provide
- Sweet & simple. A plain ol' sock stuffed with cheap rice is awesome for the lower back in back labor. Microwave to warm up, apply and mmmm....
Ashley is also a certified rebozo instructor and aficionado. The rebozo is a long piece of fabric that originated in Mexico. In labor, a rebozo can be used as an extension of a partner to support a woman in labor. (This brief video on Ashley's site offers a helpful introduction.) Partners want to help in labor and the rebozo is a nice way to "invite the partner" to support the mom in a truly involved way.
Our new mamas on hand had a few tips too:
- Coconut water: I wish I'd thought of this one. Icy cold coconut water can be refreshing and way more interesting than plain water, ice chips or the popsicles usually on hand.
- Take a nap in early labor. A few moms said that they wished that they had napped to conserve some of their precious energy.
- Affirmations. Even if a birth plan goes awry or something unexpected happens, positive affirmations can be a wonderful way to stay focused and feel in control.
It was great having Ashley with us on Saturday! If you're a pregnant mom and are interested in learning more about how a doula can help in labor including with comfort measures, head to Babies R Us on Sunday April 26 for Doula Speed Dating presented by Bull City Doula Collective.
The second Saturday of each month is the free Outside The Mom Box support group for pregnant women and new moms with babies under 1 year. Each session starts with introductions and then goes in our main topic. We leave about 30 minutes at the end for Q&A. May's topic is: self-care.