Ok, so let’s talk pain relief and Hypnobirthing. Contrary to popular belief, these two things are NOT mutually exclusive. I firmly believe, that as with any decision you make in pregnancy and birth, as long as the choice is INFORMED and YOUR OWN- it is POSITIVE and the right decision for you in that moment. Whether that be opting for gas and air, or pethedine or an epidural, if it’s the right choice for you and your baby, then you GO FOR IT! Just because you opt for pain relief, that doesn’t mean hypnobirthing hasn’t worked, and it doesn’t mean that the hypnobirthing tools aren’t still useful.. if anything, you need them now more than ever!
Now the key here, is knowing what to do next! Often, the elimination of sensation that comes with an epidural means you can sit up, chat, laugh and joke, just as if you weren’t in labour. But that doesn’t mean you SHOULD do all these things! Birth is birth regardless of what you are feeling or not! An epidural is NOT an induction, it’s NOT giving us hormones, so we still need to promote the production of oxytocin and keep Adrenalin at bay! In the same way that we would even if we didn’t have an epidural.. ok so how?
· Keep the lights dimmed! Oxytocin is best produced in a dimly lit room, having an epidural isn’t a reason to turn them all back on!
· Keep quiet! When the neocortex part of our brain is stimulated (the talking, decision making part) we are more likely to produce Adrenalin. Adrenalin causes oxytocin production to stop in its tracks! If we don’t have oxytocin, then we don’t have contractions! So keeping conversation to a minimum is still key!
· Relax! In order to produce oxytocin, we need to feel safe, relaxed and Unobserved. This still stands if you’ve got an epidural. Use your relaxation scripts, music, essential oils.. anything that helps you stay calm and relaxed.
· Move. During labour, the sensations we feel will cause us to move our bodies in order to get comfortable. By moving around we are helping baby wiggle into the position they need to be into to be born. To allow their head to rotate, their chin to tuck down and their head and body to defend through the pelvis. Once we have an epidural, it’s impossible to respond directly to the sensations of labour. But we still need to move! The drug used in most epidurals now is known as a ‘mobile mix’, meaning (to a point) you should still be able to remain ‘mobile’.. now you might not be able to stroll around the room, but moving your hips and pelvis every few minutes, and changing position from side, to seated, leaning forward, other side, are all helpful in wiggling Baby down to be born!
Essentially, birth with an epidural should be treated the same as any other birth! We want to replicate what we would be doing even if it wasn’t there! When choosing any form on intervention, including pain relief, it’s important that you understand the risks and benefits associated with it, know all your options or alternatives and listen to your instinct. If you gather all this information, and that choice feels like the right way to go, you can feel positive that you’ve made the right decision for YOU in that moment.
If you are interested in taking the next step to a positive birth, Positively Birthing Hypnobirthing and Antenatal Classes run throughout Surrey and SW London- areas including Surbiton, Esher, Teddington, Cobham, Twickenham, St Margarets, Thames Ditton, Molesey, Richmond, Wimbledon, Kingston, Sunbury, Epsom, Ewell, and beyond. All bookings can be made here.