Everyone wants a safe and healthy labor and birth. Well, how about a relaxing, soothing labor and birth? Yes. It’s possible. If you have these items handy, they can help reduce stress, which helps reduce fear and pain. You can create a calm, supportive atmosphere around the laboring mother with a few tricks of the trade, whether you have a doula or not.

RECOMMENDED READING

Let’s say you haven’t hired a doula, but you know you need someone who can protect you and provide comfort, and encouragement, and support. The first thing to do is make sure you get your hands on Penny Simkin’s book, The Labor Partner. This book is a great guide for anyone planning on helping a mother-to-be during labor.

THINGS TO MAKE MOM MORE COMFORTABLE

    1. Make sure you bring your own birth ball or peanut ball. The peanut ball is a great choice. Your less likely to lose your balance, and you can rest on your side with your knee elevated to help open the hips.

  1. Rebozos are so helpful. You’ll want to research how best to use it and practice during pregnancy.


HERBAL TEAS FOR PREGNANCY AND LABOR

During pregnancy, drinking nettle tea helps supply essential minerals, including iron. Red raspberry leaf, either in tea form, or capsule form, helps tone the uterus. Red raspberry leaf is high in vitamin C, and some midwives say that when their patients drink one cup daily, beginning at 34 weeks, it almost always results in a shorter labor. During my pregnancy, an herbalist told me that red raspberry leaf makes contractions more efficient and less painful. That’s all I needed to hear!

ESSENTIAL OILS FOR LABOR AND BIRTH

If smells bother you now, while you’re pregnant, these essential oils might bother you during labor. What you can do is put a drop or two on a cotton ball and wave it under your nose. If it gets to be too much, you can just throw it outside the room. Take some time and go to a store so you can test these scents and see if they are soothing to you. Or if you know someone who sells essential oils (it seems like everyone is these days), ask to smell-test the oils. Chances are pretty good that your hospital won’t allow you to plug in a diffuser, so plan to use the oils without one.

    • Lavender is well known and can dull pain by relaxing and calming the laboring mother. Place a drop on the tip of the nose or on a cotton ball.

    • Geranium balances emotions, aids in breathing, and circulation. Some people just find the scent relaxing. Place a drop in the palm of the hand. Rub hands together and wave under the laboring mother’s nose.

    • Jasmine is known to be an analgesic, so place a drop or two just above the pubic bone or on the back.

    • Neroli can reduce fear and anxiety. Try the nose, the cotton ball, or add it to unscented massage oil and give the laboring mother a nice relaxing massage.

    • Clary Sage is said to relieve tension and even to create a euphoric feeling. Some people say it can speed up contractions too.
    • Gentle Baby is a combination of oils and is only made Young Living Essential Oils. It is a very relaxing and calming to both the laboring mother and to her child. Dilute one drop in a drop of unscented oil and massage into the skin.

HOMEOPATHY

I’m grateful I learned about homeopathy when I was pregnant. When you find the right remedy, it is amazing what it can do. Have on hand:

  • Rescue Remedy to relieve tension and calm the laboring mother.
  • Arnica for pain and for birth recovery, whether it is a natural birth or a Cesarean.
  • Ipecachuana for nausea or vomiting. Not everyone experiences this but if you do, you’ll be so glad you’ve got this remedy on hand.
  • Caulophyllum to help induce labor and your bag of water breaks.

OTHER IMPORTANT ITEMS TO PACK IN YOUR BIRTH KIT

  1. Every labor partner will need to bring along massage oil. Find an unscented brand or use coconut oil.
  2. Ice packs or plastic ziplock bags to put ice in. It feels great on the back when the laboring mother is experiencing back labor.
  3. A Rice Sock. Take a clean, large athletic sock. Fill it with 2 cups of uncooked white rice. Heat it in the microwave for 3 minutes. It will stay warm for up to 30 minutes. Place on abdomen, around the back of the neck, on the lower back. Ah! Soothing!
  4. Food for mom: Stash Tea Original Honey Sticks, 3 oz, 20 Count Sticks to keep blood sugar up; apple juice, Three Lollies Preggie Pop Drops, 21 Assorted Sour Fruit Lozenges (3-Pack) if she feels nauseated, Yogurt, Protein snacks, broth.
  5. “Labor Ade” Click here for the recipe or just water with electrolytes.
  6. Food, drinks, and snacks for the labor partner.

You are ready and prepared for just about anything! Happy Birthing!

This information does not substitute for a care provider-patient relationship and should not be relied on as personal medical advice. Any information should not be acted upon without professional input from one’s own healthcare provider.

Liza Janda