I love to watch (and support) birthing mothers. I like to watch their demeanor, their bodies, their interactions with others… you can tell so much just from watching. When I see a woman in labor that is riding each wave and progressing without any added stressful emotions, I always notice and am reminded of the three R’s in labor.
The three R’s in labor is a very simplistic approach to childbirth preparation that I was introduced to during my Doula training with Dona International (Specifically Penny Simkin, PT, CD DONA outlines this approach for the Doula training). This approach states that there are two kinds of women in labor… those that cope well and those that get overwhelmed very easily. The ones that cope well almost always have three things in common:
Relaxation, rhythm and rituals.
- When labor begins they are able to relax their mind and body either during surges and or in between. In early labor this is not such a feat for most women. As labor progresses however a lot of women think they feel better when they are tense or moving about. It is so very important that laboring moms relax during and between contractions. Relaxation allows your body to really work with your birthing muscles and allows for your mind to release and go within your birthing body.
- Birthing moms often times find a rhythm that seems to comfort them. This rhythm could be as simple as making the same primal sound during each surge, others like to breathe very quietly. No matter what the rhythm may be, it always seems to help the mom progress more positively.
- There is almost always a ritual that the birthing mom finds and uses during labor. This is doing something over and over to the rhythm that makes them comfortable. This ritual could be someone counting during surges, or rocking with each breath during a surge. If this ritual is disturbed the birthing mom will not be able to cope as well. Changing the ritual is very rare and can actual cause harm to moms concentration therefore reducing her level of relaxation. In some cases the birthing mom will change her ritual as labor progresses and she enters into another stage. This is OK, let her follow her bodies lead.
Anyone who is privileged to be with a birthing mom is highly encouraged to let her listen to her body. Be there to support her. Do not interrupt her. Do not make her feel silly. If she needs you to count, rub her hair or back… do it. If she needs you to sit in quiet just so she knows you are there… do it.
Never interrupt a birthing mom during a surge. Always be respectful of the amazing ability of her mind and body to create and birth this awesome little being.
Thanks for your time,