What is the easiest way to give birth?
It all depends on what your version of ‘easy’ means. Do you mean;
- What’s the most pain-free way to give birth?
- What’s the safest way to give birth?
- The best way to give birth?
- The cheapest way to give birth?
Everyone’s version of ‘easy’ will be slightly different from the next and this is what makes this question such an interesting one to answer.
An easy birth for me means one in which mum can sail through the process in whichever way she prefers, feeling included and informed at decisions which are taken along the way and which she heals quickly from and bonds well with her baby after labour.
Notice how I didn’t make any judgement calls on how mum might give birth? Just as ‘easy’ can and will mean different things for different people so the perception of birth will be different for one mum to another.
If you plan for a home birth and end up with an emergency section you could feel just as terrible as the mum who plans an elective section but ends up with a surprise home birth.
So how do you decide? Well you need to think about what ‘easy’ means to you. Is it being completely undisturbed by everyone and allowing your body to give over to labour? Is it being in hospital? Is it having an epidural? Is it using water?
How do I plan for birth?
It is a difficult thing to answer. Especially if it is your first time as you just don’t know what to expect. How it will feel or what your choices might be. However, just because it is a big decision with lots to think about, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider some of your options.
Just handing over control to the midwife on duty or registrar at the hospital may lead to outcomes you never even thought about at all. And birth is so much more than just a healthy baby.
With the mums I work with at The Daisy Foundation I quite often find those who have the most positive (easy?) outcomes are when they are fully prepared to be involved along the way. Even mums preparing for a drug-free water birth who may veer far from their first choice and deliver the baby via an emergency section can still feel positive and happy with this outcome. Was it easy? Maybe not at the time, was it positive? Yes! This positivity can help mum to heal from labour and bond with baby which in turn decreases the chances of developing PND.
Equally mums who don’t feel part of the process, who have decisions made for them and who feel out of control (despite their best laid plans) could still have a ‘normal’ vaginal delivery BUT the process left them traumatised. Healing is harder, bonding with baby is interrupted, breastfeeding is harder to establish and sustain and the likelihood of PND increases. It can take years to heal from a traumatic birth and the impact can be far-reaching.
So what is the easiest way to give birth? I really couldn’t say, you’ll have to let me know
To help you prepare for the arrival of your baby you might consider attending The Daisy Foundation Birthing classes for mum and Active Birth workshop for mum and birth partner
What’s the most pain-free way to give birth?
This question is very subjective and loaded depending on your perception of pain and your desires for your birth outcomes.
The easiest way to cover this is to describe pain relief methods and give some discussion around the pros and cons of each in order to let you make your own mind up which is essentially the most important thing.
Drug-free options for giving birth
- Movement – Promotes working with your body and contractions
- Heat – can ease lower back ache
- Massage – can counter the pressure of contractions and make bearable
- Water – become free of gravity can ease ligaments and allow uterus to work easily
- Breathing – different birth breaths can help you focus and provide oxygen to baby and uterus
- Laughter – releases endorphins the body’s natural pain killer, helping you to relax
- Vocalising – can release the tension of contractions and allows the pelvis to open
- Darkness – Helps promote oxytocin to encourage labour and endorphins to work together
- Intimacy – Encourages oxytocin
- TENS machine – placed on the skin and delivers electrical impulses to interrupt nerve signals from cervix
- Education – Being empowered in your decision making about birth physiology (what is actually happening to you) can help ease the process
Medical options for giving birth
- Paracetamol, codeine – Simple analgesics can be taken in early labour
- Opiates, morphine, diamorphine, pethidine – block the pain signals and are very strong.
- Mobile – may allow some movement of the legs
- Spinal block – complete block of all feeling from waist down
- General Anaesthetic – complete unconsciousness from the birth process.
As you can see, there is a huge amount of options to consider before you even get to the medical options. The medical options are fewer but have considerably more to think about.
If you would like to discuss your options with me you can get in touch using the details below.