herbs to ease labor, birth, and recovery

Herbs can be very useful during labor and after birth to ease pain, calm emotions, and help speed recovery.  The herbs described below have been use for years by midwives and birthing women.*

  • Blue cohosh and black cohosh are two herbs that work synergistically to bring on labor, but do not use them prior to 39 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Raspberry leaf (tea or tincture) is one of the best uterine tonic herbs to prepare uterine muscles for an efficient labor. Its astringent action slows bleeding and helps to expel the placenta. Have the tea on hand or make raspberry tea ice cubes to suck on during labor.  It can also be taken in pregnancy to prepare uterine muscles for pregnancy.

Many herbs can help ease the pain of contractions:

  • Crampbark tincture can be used for uterine cramping during labor, and after birth to eliminate after birth cramping pains.
  • Scullcap and catnip relieve pain, as well as calm and relax the body.
  • Chamomile helps control pain during labor by relieving tension.

Other herbs help with emotional balance during labor:

  • Rescue Remedy, a Bach flower remedy, is excellent for bringing one quickly into focus when under stress or shock during a difficult labor. It can also be put on the baby’s forehead or wrist after a stressful birth.
  • A massage oil, enhanced with herbs, will relax the muscles and ease back labor pain. Use relaxing, aromatic herbs such as chamomilerose, and lavender. Rubbed on the perineum, it helps prevent tearing as the baby crowns and ease swelling and burning.

<<To read more herbal options for pain relief during labor, click this link.>>

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9 Natural Pain Management Techniques for Labor

Deal with birthing pains naturally! This post has 9 natural pain management techniques for labor, including a birthing ball, essential oils, and more.

With my first pregnancy, I had desired a natural labor and delivery. But I didn’t prepare for natural pain management. In fact, I only read one book my entire pregnancy–Easy Labor. It was the only book on labor I could find at my local library, and it primarily addressed medicated pain relief.

After a long, medication-laced labor with my first, I was determined to find some natural relief for labor pain my second time around. With the help of my doula, some naturally-minded friends, and quite a few books and a couple of videosI was able to incorporate these natural pain management techniques and achieve the natural birth I desired.

Not everything works for everyone, but here are 9 natural pain management techniques for labor you can try:

1. The Birthing Ball

This is basically the same as an exercise ball. My doula suggested I practice bouncing on one regularly while pregnant, and I found it a huge relief during labor. I sat on the birthing ball and rocked back and forth, and I also leaned over the birthing ball while kneeling.

2. Changing Positions

With my first labor, I was flat on my back in a hospital bed for 16 hours. With my second, I changed positions frequently. Both of my older babies were sunny-side up (posterior), which lends itself to a LOT of intense back labor. I found that rocking on all fours really helped take the pressure off my back.There were times during my second labor when my nurse asked me to come to the bed for monitoring. Even in the bed, I was able to rock back and forth from side to side, which my midwife said helped the baby move down the birth canal.

3. Water!

Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to experience a water birth. Even though I was able to move around freely with my second, the hospital where I birthed had no tubs in the room at the time (they do now!). But, I was able to use the shower. My favorite part of labor was sitting on the birthing ball in the shower. I rocked back and forth on the ball, draped my torso across a chair, and let my husband and doula spray hot, hot water over me. The water was the most comforting pain relief technique for me!

<<To read the remaining techniques, click this link.>>

Delayed Cord Cutting

Delayed cord cutting has great benefits for the baby and assists in their transition to breathing on their own.

“In the interim between birth and the natural occlusion of the blood flow in the cord, the infant’s brain and body are nourished with oxygen-rich blood from two sources, ensuring a healthy transition to neonatal life. If the cord is cut immediately following birth, blood within the cord and placenta, which the baby would normally use to establish lung circulation, remains trapped in the placenta. The infant will then divert blood from the other organs to fill the vessels in the lungs.”

 http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/PrematureLigation.asp

Birth Presentation

Each pregnancy is unique and each baby can present themselves in a number of different positions at the time of labor/birth. Learn ways to help baby turn and what to expect during labor if baby is in a less conventional pose. Breech is a variation of normal, but there are certainly things to prepare for. Research to know when it’s safe to deliver and when you should seek medical assistance. As always, be informed and trust your gut.

Spinning Babies
https://spinningbabies.com/

A New Venture

Heyyyy everyone!  Admin here!  I wanted to get everyone involved in this new project that’s been floating around in my mind for the last couple of years.  I would like to compile information to put into a book about free pregnancy and freebirth, as well as share my own personal experiences with it.  While it’s not necessarily original, I do feel it will be the first of its kind.  I don’t believe it will just be another unassisted childbirth book, I hope to add a dynamic that’s slightly different than what I’ve seen and I’m really excited about it!  I hope you’ll all be actively involved in sharing your thoughts with me as well!

So tell me: if you were to read a book about freebirth, what would you expect?  What information would you want to see in it, what would you like to learn, what questions would you want answered, etc.  Also, I’d like to include a section in the book to share encouraging freebirth stories as well as those with supportive doctors and midwives.  This book will be in complete support of freebirth and talk about safety measures to take, truths regarding medical interventions, as well as our ability as women to birth our babies as God intended.  That being said, it will not be a book that is anti-medical intervention/assistance where needed and necessary. So if you have some ideas, email me at kristiwhitten@ymail.com. Please take note that birth stories will be slightly edited for readability and grammar/punctuation but will otherwise be untouched. Also, if you want anonymity, please let me know. If you don’t specify, I will not remove names that are included.

If you’ve experienced birth trauma, I also want to hear from you!  What is a resource you wish you had access to that would have helped you cope?  What information do you wish you had that you feel would have helped prevent those experiences?  What do you wish doctors/midwives did differently and what information do you wish you were armed with in order to have a safe and successful birth that didn’t inflict the emotional (and perhaps physical) harm that you endured.  I believe these stories are just as helpful as the encouraging and successful freebirths because they help arm us with full disclosure and information we need to give us confidence, resolve, and determination in pursuing the birth we so personally desire.

It’s not going to be exhaustive, but I do want this book to be well-rounded and a great resource for those researching their options.  I want it to answer the questions of those interested in learning more as well as provide what many of us who have had one or more freebirths love so much from the support groups.  I want it to bring encouragement and empowerment and for it to be a useful and helpful tool in the shed of resources available out there for someone working toward building a healthy lifestyle and taking responsibility for the birth of their beloved babies.

Will you help me on this venture?  I hope you will! Please email me! Spam me with your ideas.  If you do not want me to quote you, please say so because if you share something great, I’m gonna quote you! hahaha!  If you’d rather help in some other way, sharing links or resources you have found along the way is also a huge help as I dive into further research to provide.  You could also help monetarily through donations towards the book or blog.  I pay a small annual fee to keep this blog running and clean/free of ads, as well as spend time moderating and researching, however I’ve done so out of passion and feel every penny and minute I’ve spent has been worth it to provide easy access to helpful information.  However, if you feel led to donate, you can do so through paypal.me/KristiWhitten.

Be sure to check back or sign up for notifications so you can order your own copy once it’s completed!  Thank you all for continued your support!  I’m really excited to get more resources out there and normalize freebirth as a safe and educated birthing option for those who desire to do so.

The Average Length of Pregnancy

We have three stacks of pancakes: stack one with eight pancakes, stack two with three, and stack four with four pancakes. There are 15 pancakes in all. If we rearrange the pancakes to have an equal number in each stack, we get five in each stack. Upon doing so, five is thus the average number of pancakes in each stack.
 
With this logic in pregnancy, we take three women: one who goes 38wks into her pregnancy before giving birth, one who goes 40wks into her pregnancy, and one who goes 43wks into her pregnancy before giving birth. There are 121wks total among the three women. If we arrange the weeks to have an equal number in each pregnancy, we get 41wks for each woman. Upon doing so, 41wks is the average number of weeks a woman would go into her pregnancy before giving birth to her baby…
 
Except pregnancy doesn’t work like that because 41wks might be the average length of a pregnancy until one reaches full term, but it doesn’t mean it’s for every woman. Due dates are calculated around this illogical idea of the average length of pregnancy and thus creates an already difficult journey to feeling like one is expired when truly, their baby is exactly where they should be (except for exceptional cases, of course) and their pregnancy is not yet to the end. As such, there is no such thing as going “late” or “too long” in a pregnancy. One can only reach their own very unique and personal full term with each individual pregnancy and each individual woman. 
Women and pregnancies aren’t pancakes. We’re a lot more amazing than that. 😉