The Labor Traps: Sneaky Things That Derail Your Natural Birth (Part 3)
Did you know that the very things you've been taught to do when planning a natural birth will set you up to fail? In fact, a lot of advice out there on how to cope during labor or what to expect can lead to you getting a trip to the OR for a cesarean. I have coined the term Labor Trap when discussing a lot of the things that lead to you getting tricked into medical interventions when your body is actually capable of physiological birth. If you want to know more about the Labor Traps, go here to part 1.
Today I'm diving deeper into the traps you can fall into once you're in labor, because even if you manage to avoid many of the scare tactics that lead to a lot of moms thinking they won't go into labor on their own, once labor actually starts you still gotta watch out for the Labor Traps!
These are the beliefs, attitudes, cultural expectations, misconceptions and medical practices that are so routine in maternity care and our birth culture that you don't think twice about them.
They're the things you see most often in the mom groups and in mainstream childbirth education that are leading you right down the exact path you don't want: the path to a cesarean, induction, episiotomy, forceps delivery, or simply a birth where you lose all control and things happen to you that you didn't ask for, didn't want, and might not have even agreed to if you'd known the risks and that you had other options.
In other words, these are the things that seem obvious in hindsight as you learn how birth really works and your own psychological and emotional needs during labor, but they aren't easy to spot beforehand because it seems like it's just "normal" and "to be expected."
You can watch the full video and then read more about how I came to discover these Labor Traps and how to avoid falling into them yourself below.
So, how did I figure this out and how can you avoid falling into these traps and the many, many others that are so common in our birth culture?
First, let me tell you a story:
When I was supporting my friend Christine through planning her Empowered Birth with her last baby we knew one thing before labor started: It would be a hell of a lot easier than the hell she'd endured with Pitocin the first time.
So when she sent a message to me telling me she was in early labor a few months after I'd experienced a relatively painless labor with my own child, I assumed that she would have her baby in a few days. She had told me that contractions weren't that bad and that she had already gone for a walk to try to get things moving.
Christine had gone past her due date and been pushed into an induction with her first baby, so going into labor on her own at 41 weeks and 4 days was a new experience for her. She was determined to keep things going, and she was also determined to labor at home as long as humanly possible before heading to the hospital.
In our community it is very difficult to get a hands-off birth in the hospital, let alone try for a VBAC, but because Christine and I were both local birth advocates at the time and knew our rights, she had a huge advantage in knowing what she could do to avoid being pressured by the doctors and nurses.
Christine continued to have some pretty mild contractions in terms of the pain she was experiencing, however her doula could see that things were definitely progressing by the sounds she was making and how she had to concentrate through a surge. She suggested that Christine get ready to head to the hospital.
They never made it out the door! Suddenly Christine's waters released and they immediately called the midwife and the ambulance to come to her. Christine continued to remain relaxed through her fast labor and the midwife actually had to ask her to stop doing her hypnobirth exercises because the baby was coming "too fast".
Christine later told me that the only painful part of labor was when she wasn't able to stay in her "labor trance"; which I can attest to because I experienced the same thing with my own birth, however Christine had also never experienced physiological labor before.
So what's the takeaway here? If you've only ever given birth in a heavily controlled setting where there are a lot of interruptions, or worse, you were given Pitocin, then I have good news: You may experience far less pain at home!
You might even experience little to no pain at all if you really tune into your body and let go of the idea that your labor is going to get worse as it progresses. In fact, a lot of the fear of pain is due to the conditioning of our birth culture and medical system and when you have that mindset going in then it can cause you to tense up and lead to the exact horror you want to avoid.
There's another problem with believing that labor has to be painful for it to progress though, and that is why a lot of nurses will turn moms away and say "you're not in labor yet" only for them to give birth in the lobby, in their car, or even in the parking lot! If you feel your baby is coming then it doesn't matter that you're "not in enough pain" from what someone else can see. Trust your instincts.
The first step to having a birth with less pain and less fear though is having the Right Mindset, which is the first of 5 Pillars of Empowered Birth. You can learn more about these pillars in my complimentary e-book, Your Empowered Birth.
In this book you will learn the entire Empowered Birth System and how you can use it to get your dream birth experience and avoid the biggest traps when it comes to planning a natural birth.
You'll be able to avoid crumbling under the pressure of an OB or midwife who is pushing for you to have a vaginal exam (even though you now know that your cervix is not a crystal ball).
You won't feel like you have to get into labor by your due date, which will allow you to rest as you need to and just not worry about it. You won't get tricked into the many traps that lead to "failure to progress" and you won't automatically transfer to the hospital unless you want to go in.
You also won't hire anyone who doesn't fully support you and believe in your ability to birth your baby in your own time, in your own way.
The best part about using this system is that anyone can do it!
You can use this system to plan your birth even if you've been labelled "high risk", if you have a "small pelvis" or you have a high body mass index. You can use it even if you develop Gestational Diabetes.
You can use it even if you've already had one or more cesareans and this is your last attempt to actually experience natural birth, because you know you should be able to do it.
This system is the most versatile and multi-dimensional way to plan and get your birth your way, without having to fight any battles, beg for permission, convince anyone of the "evidence" for what you want, or compromise to make others feel more comfortable with your choices.
You will learn about my 5 Pillar System for Empowered Birth which includes: