The time spent in the labour room is one of the most crucial phases in a woman’s life. The first labour pain may last between a few hours and several days from delivery. In the past, women were engaged in regular physical tasks, which helped ease the labour pain. Nowadays, unhealthy food habits and doing regular chores without physical strain may make the labour pain intense. However, several methods to reduce the pain during delivery have emerged in the modern medicine.
Here are some tips:
Take part in child birth classes which prepare carrying women for delivery. Choose a birthing suite. It has been scientifically proved that a specific food intake, exercise and yoga would help control labour pain.
These days, most hospitals offer ‘child birth classes’ intended to mentally and physically prepare a pregnant woman for the delivery. These classes help remove the fear and anxiety many women entertain about labour pain and likely complications. The habits and exercises to be followed during pregnancy, methods to control pain during delivery and epidural procedures which keep away pain are taught during these classes. Apart from the carrying woman, her partner also can attend the sessions. Experts will also familiarize the women with caring for the newborn.
Some women feel less stress in the labour room when a loved one is near. This person could be the mother or the husband. Many hospitals have special suites where such facilities could be arranged. Options like television and music would be available in these suites.
Protein and potassium
The young mother should follow a balanced diet to derive energy and strength during pregnancy and delivery. A pregnant woman would need at least 300 calories more than other women. Everyday, she should include two glasses of milk, egg, vegetables, fruits and 6-8 glasses of water in the diet. Avoid dishes having significant quantities of masala, spices and those which are acidic in nature. Choose food that is rich in protein and potassium, for which drinking plenty of water is necessary. Tender coconut water, watermelon juice and lemon juice are also good options. Eat plenty of dishes rich in fibre and leafy preparations. This diet should be strictly followed during the last three months of the pregnancy. Giving strength to the muscles, the diet prevents cramps.
Lie on the left side
In case there are no complications, pregnant women can engage in all normal work and activities. However, avoid strenuous jobs. Carrying women should ensure at least 8 hours of sleep at night and sufficient rest during the day. Ideally, they should sleep on the left side of the body. In addition, never sleep immediately after taking food. All clinical examinations should be done promptly.
Exercise is most ideal
The most suitable means of strengthening the muscles around the hips and lower abdomen is exercise. Strong and toned muscles enable a smooth delivery. Walking 20 minutes everyday and swimming are good physical tasks. Here are some other effective activities:
Knee chest exercise: Go on your knees and keep your hands folded on the floor. The spinal cord should be straight. Contract the muscles in the abdominal region. Remain in this position for two minutes. Gradually, increase the time.
Rib cage lift: Sit with legs crossed on the floor. Lift one hand and bend it over the head to the other side. Take a deep breath. Change the hand. Repeat the process with alternate the hands. This exercise will help remove excess fat in the body and reach ideal body weight before delivery.
Yoga, breathing exercises
Yoga can help increase the strength and flexibility of the body. It would also expand the tolerance limits of every person who practices the art. However, ensure the guidance of a trainer before starting yoga.
Sit comfortably in a ‘sukhasana’ pose on a mat or sheet laid on the floor. Close the eyes and think about God. Reflect over the fact that divinity exists in the heart of the mother as well as the growing baby in the womb. Always remember this thought, which should be strengthened every time air is inhaled. When exhaling, consider that all the anxieties present inside the body and mind are flowing out and are dissolved in the air.
While in this pose, the muscles on the face and neck should be relaxed and the spine erect. The shoulders, elbows and palms also have to be relaxed. There has to be a smile on the face and the breathing regular. The time taken to exhale should be more than that spent to inhale. But air taken in should not be kept for more than four seconds. Continue this pose for five minutes. To add comfort, sit on a folded bedsheet or blanket.
After completing this exercise, relax by extending the feet and resting the hands behind the body. During this time, move the feet gently towards the right and left or in a circular fashion. Doing ‘savasana’ by lying down is also a way to unwind.
(Information courtesy: Dr Indubi R, Consultant, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Renai Medicity, Ernakulam)