Inducing labour with synthetic drugs is never ideal. For me, induction wasn’t something that was my first choice, but once I got past 41 weeks, and a diagnosis of gestational diabetes was still hanging in the air, I eventually to choose the path of least resistance.
I know there are plenty of women who will say you “can’t” cope with an induction without synthetic pain relief, and that to even consider it is some kind of unnecessary torture. I get that. Every woman and every labour is different. I’m not here to brag about my superhuman pain threshold and to make other women feel bad. On the contrary, I share this view that you CAN cope with an induction without synthetic pain relief because fundamentally I’m a wuss. If I get a stitch, I stop running. Who am I kidding, I don’t run, because I find it utterly unpleasant. I tried bootcamp fitness classes for a few weeks and after the instructor began to scream “what WTF is this? Do you want a f=#king hot chocolate and a muffin, do you?”, I thought, “yep. That’s exactly what I want” and I left. When I was 19, I had surgery to have 8 teeth removed so I could get braces. I took codeine before every single orthodontic appointment because I didn’t want to have to deal with the pain.
Prior to studying hypnosis and the relationship between pain and psychophysiology, my early thoughts about my own labour were that I should have the pain drugs. All of them. Then, one afternoon I watched the Business of Being Born and realized I was taking a very “la la la, don’t wan’t to know. I’ll wing it on the day” approach to birth, which wasn’t (a) ideal for me or my baby from a psychological and physical point of view, and (b) wasn’t actually in line with my beliefs about the mind-body connection or positive birthing practices. I decided that I wanted to try something different. Something more natural that was still evidence-based and made sense.
Did you know that hypnobirthing is awesome for ALL kinds of births? Including inductions and caesarians. Sometimes the ‘natural’ approach has people thinking that it’s only an option for those doing ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ birth (whatever that it is!). The combination of training in breathing, birth physiology, acupressure and massage really helped me rock my birth. I achieved the calm, pain med free birth that I wanted, despite being induced, and I really believe that when we are faced with interventions there are ways to take a positive spin, rather than get paralyzed by negativity and fear.
If you’re going to be induced, and have time to prepare for the idea, here are my tips:
Don’t think that by blocking it out or winging it on the day you’ll just make the best of it. Birth is really like a marathon. You wouldn’t turn up without stretching, being hydrated, wearing the right clothing and above all practicing beforehand. Do research, but the right type of research. Read a little about the procedures that might be used, talk to your care provider about options available, and then flood yourself with positive, empowering messages. Almost everything you read about people’s experiences with inductions will tell you all the negatives. That horrific pain is what you’re in for, and that you just have to accept it. Not the case!
Have your birth partner learn some acupressure techniques using Debra Bett’s app
or watch her Youtube channel
There are a couple of acupressure points that are excellent at releasing beta endorphins and managing those strong sensations. Cilao (BL-32) was really a life saver during my induction with my first labour. I talk about harnessing beta endorphins in labour in this video If I can do it, you can do it! Even if an epidural is administered, research evidence with MRI studies indicates that acupressure continues to work (you just may not feel it).
Utilise optimal positioning. Remember the birth canal is ‘J’ shaped not ‘I’ shaped, so baby needs to come down and out in a curve not a straight line. If you are on your back, you are effectively trying to push uphill! Use gravity to your advantage and try upright positions (like all fours) that can open your pelvis up to 30% or more than lying on your back.
Look at your language, because it’s powerful. I don’t mean don’t swear (you probably will), I mean focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want. Personally, I took the word ‘pain’ out of my vocabulary and focused on preparing for sensation instead. Instead of thinking about that sensation being unbearable or awful, I chose to think “this is intense, this is powerful, this is challenging but manageable”
Get rid of the word “try”. Our subconscious is confused by the concept of try. How many times have you said “I’ll try to be there” as a way of giving yourself the option of not going to an event without actually just saying you’re not going. Again, focus on positive, strong statements “I can do this”, “this is manageable” rather than “I’m going to try to do this without drugs”
Make sure you check out my videos on tips for inductions during labour and coping with gestational diabetes
If you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, or have been ‘warned’ you’re having a big baby? Reduce your fears and get the facts in this article I wrote.
I would love to help you have the calm, and empowered birth that you deserve. I run Hypnobirthing Australia sessions every month in the beautiful Macedon Ranges.
If you are not in the Macedon Ranges, there's still a hypnobirthing practitioner near you. Just enter your postcode
A frazzled parent
As a Clinical and Perinatal Psychologist I also work with women and their families to debrief from traumatic births, cope with anxiety and depression, and manage the general guilt fest that is mothering :)
I can offer psychology and mentoring sessions via Skype anywhere in the world (excluding the USA and Canada), so you don’t even have to get out of your PJs or leave the house!
A birth, perinatal or mental health professional
Need some debriefing or further mentoring? I can offer support and help you skill-up if you’re feeling overwhelmed or burned out