My 3 Tips for an Easier Birth

My 3 Tips for an Easier Birth

The morning before I gave birth I was a total wreck. I lay in bed exhausted and panic-stricken, ranting and raving to my husband about how: “I CANNOT, CANNOT, CANNOT give birth! I cannot handle the pain of labor! THIS TIME I am going to schedule an elective C-section! THIS TIME I’m going to get an epidural as early as humanly possible! THIS TIME I am going to give birth under general anesthesia…”

My husband humored me for a few hours, and then gently reminded me that I rant and rave this exact same way about epidurals and elective C-sections and general anesthesia before every birth, and how in the end the births really aren’t so bad. “That’s easy for you to say!” I growled.

And just a few hours after all this ranting and raving and growling I had my easiest birth ever. So much easier than my previous births. So I wanted to share a few tips for an easier birth that helped me and maybe could help you too…

1. Bioflavinoids: Most of my births have started with my water breaking. From a medical point of view, births that kick off with amniotic rupture are a bit riskier, and from this JewishMOM’s point of view, they are linked with very hard contractions. So a few births ago my labor coach instructed me to start taking one daily bioflavinoid capsule starting in my 36th weeks of pregnancy. Bioflavinoids strengthen the amniotic sac and make it more elastic so that it doesn’t rupture on its own, and the contractions (in my experience) are way easier. This has been my 3rd bioflavinoid blessed birth—highly recommended.

2. My Mantra: Every birth I have a certain Biblical verse or inspiring thought that I say to myself during every contraction. And this birth, during every contraction, I said, “Everything is from You, Hashem, and everything is for my benefit” (actually I said it in Hebrew, which sounds a bit better הכל מימך ה’, והכל לטובתי””). This is actually, also, what I’ve been telling myself the whole year to get me through the lowest, scariest points of the neighborhood crisis. (This mantra means that things can be tough AND good, because difficult experiences make me stronger and force me to turn to Hashem.) Also, at the very end of the birth, after the midwife broke my water and the contractions were really painful, I said the letters of Hashem’s name “Yud, Heh, Vuv, Heh” which always works wonders and miraculously reduces the pain.

3. Positive Thinking: Before the birth, my friend Betty gave me some great advice that has helped her during her births. She suggested that I figure out what are the scariest parts of labor for me, and that I visualize before and also during the birth how those scary moments are actually going to work out just great. So during the birth, instead of worrying about the pain of the end of labor and how there is absolutely no way I’m going to be able to push out this baby, I reined in my anxious brain and pulled it back to positive visions of how my husband and labor coach were with me, and how everything was going to be easy and smooth and great. And b”H, this helped me to feel extremely calm and in control. In the end, the final stage of the birth WAS difficult, but at least I hadn’t spent the whole birth worrying about it. So overall, this positive thinking helped to make things much easier.

Thank You, Hashem, for this CUTIE! And for the blessing of this birth.

JewishMOM, what has helped to make YOUR births easier?

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18 comments

  1. I think the thing that makes labor and birth easier is something you don’t list because for you, it’s a given.

    Competent Female Labor Support

    its importance cannot be overstated

    it can be a friend who’s good at it – or a relative – or someone you pay. but it’s crucial.

    • I couldn’t agree more. Female Labor support is a MUST! For all moms-to-be in the Jerusalem area, I would like to HIGHLY recommend my amazing labor coach for my last 4 births: Joanie Abelman 02-6787102

      • I’ve used Shoshana Goldbaum for my two Yerushalayim births and I give her my full endorsement. Shoshana is everyone listed above and more.

  2. Positive thinking!
    What helped me tremendously during every contraction was the thought i kept telling myself, thanks to my original labour coach teacher: “Each contraction is bringing my baby closer to the world. I have waited 9 months for this baby, and each contraction is bringing it closer! Each push is a step closer to meeting and holding this precious new and pure neshama!”

  3. I just had my first child 4 mo ago but i swear my easy labor was all thanx to acupuncture every week during my 3rd trimester, drinking red raspberry leaf tea which strengthens your uterus and prenatal yoga which i did up to the night before.

  4. Rachel Shifra

    I used for the last birth the hypnobirthing CD. I started listening to it in my first trimester! Every night. I still was afraid but not blind panic and terror.
    Really the biggest thing for me was finally having that homebirth with my third birth that made a big difference. On a pain scale it was probably the second most painful birth I have had but the safety of being at home far away from a threat of having a c setion made it all worth it to skip the epidural. Next time around I think I want a doula for those final moments, where I| really really need in your face coaching. Mazel Tov again, Channa. Enjoy your cutie.

  5. Two H’s: homebirth and Hypnobirthing 😉

    Taking each contraction as it comes, focusing only on the moment, and allowing myself to bliss out during the breaks. (I didn’t get much in the way of breaks in my first birth, so I appreciated them in my second and third.) Lots of tefillah, for others and for myself.

  6. hypnobirthing!!!!

  7. So great to read all these deep positive experiences, and thereby, tips.

    Mine is physical relaxation/release of the body – cheeks, drop shoulders, release knees and hands. Letting it go.

    Mazal tov Jenny and b’sha’ah tovah to all pregnant women.

  8. Definitely learning to consciously relax my pelvic muscles made a HUGE difference.

    But then again, every birth is different. My last baby (homebirth, 12 lb with nuchal arm, 2.5 hour labor) was VERY rough, even though I had lots of easier births before…

    I like having a “bag of tricks” – because it’s hard to know what will work in labor. Having a birth tub, a list of different positions, music, accupressure points, photos to focus on, supportive people there – all have been helpful in different births. I tend to find one “recipe” and stick to it the whole labor through. (My labors are short, though – Boruch Hashem!)

  9. I too have a mantra “ain od milvado”. I have always connected with this line and the thoughts that go with it is that there is only Hashem in the world, nothing else. Pain is non-existant, the nurses, midwife, the room, the bed – they’re not really there – it’s all in Hashem’s mindset, nothing is really real.

    Someone else told me that with her last baby, she was so exhausted that she had no energy to fight the pain and had the best birth yet. I tried that, and it too worked for me! When you stop fighting the pain and just let it go, it works so much more. Don’t think of it as pain, think of it as exercise to get that baby closer and out. If it’s not pain, you won’t fight it. Just feel too tired to deal with pain and zone out.

    Towards the end I remember repeating over and over in my head, “Quick and easy, quick and easy, quick and easy.” And I also davened for the baby to come out quicker than the nurses think it should! You know how they said, “well, it’s a little ways up, but a few pushes should push it closer, maybe ten more contractions” or something. Ten more?! So I davened for them to be WRONG. And when you daven for something specific when you are about to give birth, Hashem always answers. At that point, we are so close to Hashem, nothing is in our way and we can just ask for anything. I remember visualizing that I was on my knees in front of His Throne, begging. It wasn’t a conscious thought, just how I felt.

  10. Can I ask – why did you feel the need to force yourself to go through pain?
    If having an epidural or even a planned C-section would make it less painful for you, why not take those options?

    • a) Those options are not risk-free, for the mother or the baby, and for some of us the risk is not worthwhile

      b) those options are NOT necessarily pain-free – many epidurals don’t “take,” may lead to worse tearing because of not being able to feel, and some end up with back pain or epidural headaches following – ouch! And a C-Section may be pain-free during, but it sure isn’t afterwards!

      Many of us find it, although painful, empowering. Think the kind of pain a marathon runner feels during the last leg of the race. You wouldn’t tell him to take an epidural for that!

      Of course it’s different for everyone, and some people really do much better with an epidural or even a planned C. But it’s not because we are masochists that we try for unmedicated births. It’s a rational, logical, reasoned decision.

  11. I just wanted to join in this amazing conversation that is giving me chills sisters!!!
    My last birth I copied the special tefilla in my siddur for moments before pushing: my mum, two student nurses (one pregnant with her first) all listened as I read: it was very intense because I was moments away from delivering a bottom-first breech, naturally…. It was electric (I’m actually tearing up as I write) I don’t think I ever prayed for something with so much kavanna, when it wasn’t even my own words. We were all in tears and there were many miracles that followed, Baruch Hashem!!! May we all continue to give each other strength!!

  12. since with my first I had a crazy long labor with contractions that hardly did anything, when it came to my second, I wanted the contractions to be strong, so every time I had a contraction, instead of complaining I said ‘this is good’! and I really felt that it was good!
    also what really helped me was groaning and at the same time saying ‘you can come out’ ‘I’m ready’ ‘please hashem help my baby come out’ and when it got really tough I’d daven for a friend, and think about their pain and suddenly by me it was less painful!!!

  13. i really don’t understand, how can someone having a first birth be so confident that a certain tea, yoga, or whatever is the cause of her easy labor?

    • It might be an educated guess based on how her siblings and mother birthed, but even with 10 births under your belt, you still can’t be confident that any given birth choice is what made things work out the way they did.

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