Top 5 Misconceptions About Birth
By Helping Hands Doula
1. Water breaking is the start of labour
Whaaaaat! In every movie you’ve ever seen, this happens either before or soon after the first contraction. Water breaking, the amniotic sac surrounding baby in the uterus, only breaks first in about 5-10% of births. In most cases, a woman experiences many hours or contractions and the water breaks spontaneously in active labour at the hospital or during the pushing phase. Even more so, most women have their water broken by their doctor or midwife at some point in their labour.
2. Pushing is the hardest part
The most intense time during labour is the period known as transition. This is the ending of the first stage, as the cervix is between 7-10 cm dilated. Contractions at this stage, tend to be the strongest, and very close together; between 2-3 minutes apart, lasting 60-90 seconds. If you do the math, you are looking at around 30 seconds of rest in between. This can be a very overwhelming time.
Pushing on the other hand can feel like a sense of relief as you can work with the contractions to bring baby down the birth canal. Think of really needing to make a bowel movement and then finally finding a toilet.
3. Missing the window of an epidural
I’m sure you have heard this from at least more than one person, that by the time they decided on using an epidural, it was too late to get one. To understand why this scenario can happen, it is important to know how epidurals work. Epidurals are designed to take away the sensation of contractions or cramping but not the sensation of pressure. Pressure is typically felt more and more as a woman is getting close to pushing and is the main sensation during the pushing stage. So, when a woman asks for an epidural when pushing is imminent, the relief an epidural can bring is not very useful. It is not that an epidural is off the table at that point, just likely not much of a benefit to you. An epidural can be given at any time in the pushing phase, keeping in mind that baby isn’t super close to being born. Epidurals and all the tools that come along with an epidural take roughly 30 minutes to administer.
4. Epidurals take away all sensations
Epidurals paint the picture that they make the whole birthing process smooth & easy. Don’t get us wrong, epidurals are an amazing tool for many labouring moms, however, epidurals don’t work 100% for everyone. Around 1 in 10 epidurals are not fully functional, meaning the dosage needs to be adjusted or the epidural needs to be re-administered. If you are experiencing contractions all over or in patchy areas, it is suggested to use other tools in conjunction such as breathing, position changes, massage and distraction.
5. A Doula is the same as a Midwife
Not in the slightest! A midwife is responsible for the medical care and safety of labouring mom and baby, just like a doctor. Doulas work well with clients in the care of either Midwives or Doctors, as they focus on the physical, emotional and information needs of expecting families. Think of a wedding planner but for the birth, they help with all the preparations to get you ready for the most important day of your life and are there in the moment to help reduce stress in meeting your baby.
There are lots of things that we have learned in our experience that are unknown to most expecting families. Join us at the Expert Stage daily for ‘Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum-UNCENSORED “Everything you Need To Know that NO-ONE tells you”.
7 Steps to Exercising During Pregnancy
By Samantha Montpetit-Huynh
And let’s not forget feeling “heavy,” the 2 “c’s” (crappy and crabby) and just an overall urge to punch someone in the face because you can no longer bend over and tie your shoes without passing out! It is also possible to feel better thanks to good hormones released during exercise, better self-confidence and more that comes with exercise.
You do have the power to control the way your pregnancy progresses, and how you feel. It is simple, really: limit not-so-good foods, eat your veggies and move your body on a regular basis.
But getting started, and knowing how to be safe, can feel challenging. So here is my guide to exercising in pregnancy. I’ll break it down to 7 steps.
Step 1. If you already exercise, the “higher ups” (your OBGYN, midwife, family doctor or pelvic floor physiotherapist) will tell you it is 100% safe to continue doing what your body was already used to doing as long as you are having a safe, uncomplicated pregnancy. And you heed my warnings in step 3.
Step 2. Forget the old advice that you shouldn’t start to exercise if you haven’t ever before. Remember: pregnancy is NOT a disease and if there is any time in your life when you should exercise, it’s when you are pregnant!! You are growing a person, which is a pretty big deal, so the healthier the host, the better the outcome. However, this is not the time to start anything with high intensity i.e. bootcamps, running, body pump etc. Just be smart and talk with your health team first.
Step 3. Which brings me to… Avoid high impact. This is where I sometimes get into heated debates with runners and cross-fit “believers” who ask “what’s the harm?” The harm is – to your vagina!! And I don’t mince words. If you had a bowling ball sitting on your vagina and you power lifted 200lbs over your head or decided to run a half marathon, what do you think is happening down below? We already know the immense amount of pressure that is created during pregnancy. The weight load goes from approximately 2-4lbs to 20lbs and the pelvic floor muscles that support your vagina, rectum and pelvic organs aren’t very big. Add MORE weight and MORE pounding and well, gravity isn’t so forgiving. Babies in utero absolutely benefit from cardiovascular and other forms of training during pregnancy but your pelvic floor doesn’t. Modifying intensity to train smart until you recover after pregnancy. This is the best way to ensure everything is “in its place” in the end. Unsure of what this means? See a pelvic floor physiotherapist or train with a fitness professional certified in prenatal exercise.
Step 4. Focus on your core. Your core is your central hub, or your home base from which everything else extends. Your pelvic floor is the foundation of your core, so it’s obviously the most important part of training your core and optimizing overall function. The Core Breath does just that – it teaches the body mechanics of your diaphragm and how it relates to the pelvic floor, transversus abdominis and mutilfidus. It is the starting point from which to build. Our Core Confidence Program was created for pregnancy because the best way to prepare for ANY recovery is before the big event!!
Step 5. Stay regular. And I don’t mean on the toilet (although that’s important too) but be consistent in your exercise regime. Babies benefit from adapting to the physiological changes exercising mothers create when they move (blood pressure and heart rate changes). This prepares them for labour and delivery. Inconsistency almost does more harm than good; without the consistency there can’t be the slow adaptation. Start slow and build but be consistent. A 30 minute walk most days of the week is a great strategy.
Step 6. Listen to your body. You may see women pushing themselves with a “no excuses” attitude (which I regularly preach to my clients). There is a difference between making excuses and just feeling off. Pregnancy is a funny thing; some days you feel amazing and some days you feel like you were hit by a truck. Listen to the signs and know when to back off (it’s temporary and rest is needed to get through). The horse will always be there to get back onto as soon as you are able.
And Step 7. If you’re still not feeling confident, get yourself a personal trainer who specializes in pre and postnatal fitness. She can guide you properly on what you should and should not do. You can find a list on our website here to help you find a qualified trainer in your area.
Want to learn more from Samantha? Be sure to attend her seminar Exercise in Pregnancy with a Strong Focus on Diastasis and Pelvic Health @ 3 pm Saturday April 28 on the Expert Seminar Stage.
Original blog can be found here.