By Amanda Bryant from Daisy Birthing
Women experience pregnancy and birth in many different ways. There is no right or wrong way. Only your way. Being relaxed, confident and knowledgeable about how to keep active and help yourself during labour can really improve your experience of both pregnancy and birth.
What is relaxed-active birthing
I know some mums tend to imagine active birth as being able to hold a squat for 3 hours, or wrapping their leg around a chair, or keeping upright at all costs! Well that isn’t relaxed-active birthing (thank goodness). Relaxed-active birthing is a term coined by the founder of Lazy Daisy, and is a fusion of active birth and birth education, which isn’t just about ‘moving around’ during birth, it’s also about knowing when to rest, following your own instincts, developing a positive attitude, and having a choice in how and where you birth
Partners are often actively involved in giving both emotional and physical support during an active birth. This sharing of the birth experience can be very fulfilling and memorable and is a good start to becoming a parent and beginning your life together as a new family.
Why relaxed-active birthing works
You can use relaxed-active birthing whether you are a first time mum, or mum of more, and also if you have already experienced birth with a c-section. At Daisy Birthing, we have seen a large number of mums within our flagship studio region successfully enjoy a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean). We consider these success stories, and those of all our other mums, to be in part due to the following:
- Encouraging baby into an optimum position
From our perspective, we feel that gentle movement in pregnancy, the use of gravity in labour and the work we do on ensuring the cervical ligaments are well balanced, are key ingredients to successful progression in labour.
- Overcoming fears
For many mums it is not just the fear of the birth itself, or with VBACs the fear of the uterine scar suffering, but also the fear of ‘failure to progress’ (perhaps the reason for a c-section first time around); many mums question is their pelvis too small? In Daisy Birthing classes we try hard to overcome these fears and to help mum understand how to maximise space in the pelvis.
- Oxygenating tissues
Breathing and rotational movements are a great way to help oxygenate the pelvic area and uterine and abdominal tissues, and to encourage descent of baby. In addition, by helping mum to work with contractions using forward leaning positions to optimise the surge of the uterus.
- Relax – it helps!
For me, personally, I would say our biggest benefit is the results we can achieve in helping mum eliminate worry or fear before the birth, and to encourage her to look forward to her birthing day, however the journey pans out. If a mum is anxious about birth, or is wanting a vaginal birth after a c-section, the whole process can seem terrifying and we know that adrenalin is definitely not a welcomed guest in the birthing room - if we can ensure stress levels and stress hormones are kept low this gives mum the best possible chance of a smoother labour.
- Bear down don’t push!
Finally, of course by learning to bear down from below the diaphragm (as opposed to pushing from the chest muscles), mum will often find the second stage becomes much more about easing baby out rather than ‘grit your teeth and push for England’ – a gentle passage for baby and the surrounding tissues!
Daisy Birthing classes help you learn techniques to have an relaxed-active birth. They are available in Otley, Ilkley and Harrogate.