Natural Birth

What did you tell yourself during labor to get through it naturally?

What I mean is....

 Reminding yourself that the peak of the contractions only last "this" long and that you can't be in labor forever or that "This will most likely be over in no more than _____ number of contractions".   Similarly, maybe you reminded yourself of the effects of an epidural or the risks of such....

 Just wondering what you told yourself to get yourself through....bc this is how my mind works. :)   

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Re: What did you tell yourself during labor to get through it naturally?

  • There were several good things I learned (and used) from Bradley Method and Ina May Gaskin books, but one that I used a lot was remembering that my body  a working hard to get DD into my arms. Each contraction, then each push, once one more closer to meeting her. Also, then, that labor was only temporary and that the fact I was feeling contractions and that they were increasing meant my body was doing precisely what it needed to. 
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  • In terms of what I told myself to avoid an epidural...well, I labored at home as long as possible. As it turned out, I arrived at hospital fully dilated, so it was never an issue (laboring at home as long as possible is best way to avoid unwanted meds or procedures).
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  • image SarahinMD:
    There were several good things I learned (and used) from Bradley Method and Ina May Gaskin books, but one that I used a lot was remembering that my body  a working hard to get DD into my arms. Each contraction, then each push, once one more closer to meeting her. Also, then, that labor was only temporary and that the fact I was feeling contractions and that they were increasing meant my body was doing precisely what it needed to. 

    This. I focused on two things: staying as loose and relaxed as possible, and the fact that at the end, I would get to hold my baby in my arms.

    Homebirthing, babywearing, cloth diapering, young mama to two beautiful babies
    and married to my best friend in the world.
  • I just repeated to myself, "This won't last forever. Many other women have done it. It won't last forever." Etc. I just had to remind myself a lot that it was short term.
    Wyatt 9/6/2011 
    Tessa 7/5/2013
    Baby #3- ????? (ttc soon)

  • I liked reminding myself that it won't last forever and that the pain can't be bigger than me b/c it is me or it is from me.
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  • "One contraction at a time", and I focused on keeping my jaw, face, fingers and feet relaxed, and imagined an open cervix. Those were the main things, and I plan to do that for a third time this fall.

    My third child and second VBAC baby!
    First VBAC birth story - a 2 hr homebirth
    Second VBAC birth story
    - unattended hospital water birth
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  • kdv77kdv77
    Sixth Anniversary
    All of the above. I kept thinking about the reasons to avoid meds and telling myself it won't be forever, one contraction at a time, every contraction has a purpose. 
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  • This will be my forth natural birth and I plan on doing what I have always have done and just take it one contraction at a time. I don't like to think about how long labor might last while I'm in labor . It's like watching a clock it would just drive me nuts . I do tell myself that since I made it through the last contraction then ill be able to make it through the next . I try to put most of my mind into relaxing inbetween the contractions so that all my energy goes into the contractions themselves making them IMO more effecient . For me the most intense part only lasts a few hours . I always say you can handle almost anything for a few hours.
  • I told myself that I could do it, the pain is only temporary and that my body was designed to give birth.  It got my through active labor. When it came time to push all bets were off.  I couldn't keep myself calm anymore but at that point there was not going back. GL!
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  • This is what I repeated to myself, over and over when I was in labor:

    "One contraction at a time."

    "Women have been doing this since the beginning of time. My body was made to do this."

    "One contraction closer to finding out if we have a boy or girl!" (obviously, this only applies to you if you're Team Green). :)

    I gave birth at a freestanding birth center, so I didn't have the option of worrying about the temptation of an epidural, because it wasn't available to me. When I was in transition I started to cry and said "I can't do this, I can't do this" my midwives and my husband were quick to remind me that yes I COULD do this, I was so close to meeting our baby, etc. For me, having other people remind me that I would make it through the pain really did help. 

  • image principessa81:

     When I was in transition I started to cry and said "I can't do this, I can't do this" my midwives and my husband were quick to remind me that yes I COULD do this...

     To add... my doula and DH kept saying you ARE doing it...

    While I knew all the medical reasons to go med-free in my head - what I think really got me through the intense transition period when I got very weepy (which itself is normal) is this... knowing if I asked for the epidural, it would take a bunch more contractions to get it in place - and since I could only even try to think about one at a time - 6 or more down the line was unfathomable - so  I just needed to forget all that and do it one at a time - somehow that's what worked for me.  My doula and DH were amazing and I don't think I could have done it without them.

  • Here's the list of affirmations that I used. Positive affirmations were really really helpful for me. 

    Birth is a safe and wonderful experience.

    I am confident in my ability to birth naturally.

    My body is made to give birth.

    All I need to do is relax and breathe.

    My body knows how to have this baby.

    I am ready and prepared for childbirth.

    Each contraction is a healthy pain that I can handle.

    I can do this.

    My labor discomfort is only a small portion of my life.



  • You do it because you have to.  There is no choice.  What helped me is that my midwife never even put the option on the table of any meds.  It was just get through this one.  My labor was so fast that I didn't have any down time to process or think.

    Also, being prepared and knowing the risks helped, but I wasn't thinking about that in the moment.  However, I'm so glad I made it through because my recovery has been a breeze and I know that's from not having any drugs.

    Just make sure you have a very supportive team with you--I had my husband, mom and midwife plus 2 hospital nurses that were incredibly supportive of my birth plans and providing a lot of support and encouragement during the labor.

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  • I was so overwhelmed by the experience that I didn't really even register what was happening until DD had crowned.

    I wish I had some positive things going through my mind but my body was riding this crazy roller coaster and my mind was just trying to keep up, ha! I think a strength I had was to not vocalize what my mind was screaming. Toward the end all I could think was "get the vacuum, get the knife, I don't care just GET THIS KID OUT!!" but when the contraction was over I could rationalize a bit and tell myself to hold on. Right before DD's head was out I told my husband that I couldn't do this anymore, to which he sweetly and gently replied, "you have to babe. You're doing so good, you're almost done." Somehow that got through and I was able to bury my face into the bed and DD was out two pushes later.


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  • When I felt each contraction coming, I would pick a place from my memory - like one of the homes I lived in during childhood. As I pushed, I made myself imagine my husband was there with me and I was giving him a descriptive "tour" of everything I could remember about that place. The more details I could remember and name, the longer I was able to maintain concentration and push. It helped to have something to take my mind off of how painful it was, because I wasn't thinking pain, pain, pain . . . I was thinking, okay, what else do I remember? Describe the carpeting, the wallpaper in that old home. This is strange, and not something I "trained" myself to do before labor, but it really worked for me. 
  • Unfortunately my water broke and I didn't progress, so halfway through my labor I needed to be induced (and there was no way I was doing that without drugs). But up until that point, whenever I experienced a contraction I tried to focus intensely on some other part of my body--my feet generally. Sounds weird but it worked for me. :) 

    Am loving reading what you ladies have to say; I am excited and hopeful that this time round I will be able to have a med-free birth, and all this is great advice!
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  • I didn't really do any of those things. Thinking about it being almost over (in general or each individual contraction) wasn't something that I was able to conceive, though my mom kept saying those things to me. But at one point, my husband came over and asked me very gently and calmly if I had changed my mind and if I wanted to go to the hospital and get meds (I had a home birth), and in that moment, I considered exactly what that would consist of. Getting into the car, and being confined in the seat unable to move during the contractions, getting to the hospital and being admitted, being hooked up to an IV or hep lock and having fetal monitoring (none of which I wanted, but I didn't have a birth plan written out because I felt like it was tempting fate- the midwives knew my wishes as we had discussed them in detail), the needle needing to be put in my spine in order to deliver the epidural, the risks of it slowing down labor resulting in me needing pitocin, the fact that my water had broken 24 hours earlier and they would most likely want to intervene even more because of that, the fact that when it came time to push I'd have to be coached instead of doing it on my own because of the epidural, and the high likelihood that I'd end up with a c-section after all that. Having that moment to seriously consider my options really gave me some extra motivation to get through it, so I'm honestly glad that he asked and presented me with the option because making that decision in the moment, not just before I had experienced it, really made a difference for me. I know that this is counter intuitive, and a lot of people say that in order to avoid the meds you have to just proceed like they don't even exist, which I did throughout my pregnancy, but having that presented to me in labor made me even more resolved to stick to the plan, and even though it didn't feel like it much at the time, looking back, I can see that it definitely gave me that extra bit of motivation that I really needed. 

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  • With DS1 I thought "if my mother could give birth to me, I can give birth to anything." My mom is very petite and I was 9lbs 10oz and a med-free VBAC.

    With DS2 I focused on my doula telling me that as soon as I had the baby it would all be over. I felt huge leaps in progress whenever I would actively relax my body and focus on my desire for him to be born. Accepting labor is really important to the process, accept that it's happening and don't let your mind get in the way of your body.

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  • tmrchitmrchi
    500 Comments Second Anniversary
    I had my hypnobirthing rainbow relaxation playing throughout labor.  I also just took it one contraction at a time.  My midwife and husband kept telling me I was doing a good job, and that it was almost over, and that I was about to meet my baby.
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  • A nurse who taught one of the sessions of my childbirth class told me something that resonated with me through both of my natural births: "You can do anything for one day."  Keeping that in mind really helped me get through labor. 

    BFP #1 10/13/09 EDD 06/20/10 DS Born on 06/26/10
    BFP #2 03/08/11 EDD 11/16/11 DD Born on 11/04/11
    BFP #3 08/29/12 EDD 05/06/13 M/C on 08/30/12
    BFP #4 11/01/12 EDD 07/09/2013 M/C on 12/28/12
    BFP #5 04/30/13 EDD 01/03/14 DS Born on 01/02/14
  • It's hard to describe but my mind was in this weird state in which I wasn't thinking at all in the way I normally would. I would just do whatever I could to get through each contraction. I couldn't really focus on things like "I'll be holding my baby soon." There was a point when my mind ran through all the pain med options and luckily enough I was able to think rationally enough to know why I didn't want any of them. I had recently watched The King's Speech and my mantra with DD became "fruck, fruck, fruck!"

    The biggest thing I remember that was a deterent was thinking I was a lot further away than I was. Looking back I was probably in transition when I first started to have these thoughts and then when I started pushing I psyched myself out that I  had a long ways to go and then all of the sudden DD was crowning. Then I knew I could do it and was determined to have her out the next push. I told myself that the next time around I'll trust my body more and encourage DH to give me updates (but only realistic ones because I don't need false words of encouragement like "You're almost there" if LO isn't even close).

    Lilypie - (vwzg) Lilypie - (MO2m)

    N13 November siggy challenge: Movember facial hair
  • I consider myself 'lucky' that I had relatively short, but extremely intense labors. From water breaking to birth, each of my births were about 6 hours long. However, that was nearly 6 hours in each case of contractions one on top of the other (literally as one would start to go down on the monitor, a new one would begin), so no 30 sec even to rest in between for most of those hours...

     However, because of the intensity, every time I was checked (every hour pretty much) I had really progressed. It was the progression that really gave me the oomph to continue. I just kept calculating in my head - well if in x hours, I already dilated x centimeters, then I only have x time left!

    Not sure this would work for everyone, but it was some sort of perfect logic that kept me going! lol

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  • I had a hep lock (required) and kept telling myself that I needed a bag or two of fluids before I could get the epi anyway. 
    Mrs. 5/03*DD 2/07*DS1 5/09*DS2 7/12
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  • image CRLSMC2011:

    You do it because you have to.  There is no choice.  What helped me is that my midwife never even put the option on the table of any meds.

    Kind of this.  There was only one time I consciously thought about pain meds even being available, and that was between contractions.  Other than that, I just never thought about it.

    For me, each contraction wasn't so much something that was happening to me, as much as it was something that I was challenged to climb.  If that makes any sense.  I had to mentally "get on top of" each wave of pressure.  Sometimes it felt very literal.  I had images in my head of running uphill until I reached the summit, or of being on a surfboard and getting my body up as the wave came toward me.

    A lot of it was that I didn't have a whole lot of conscious thought.  It was something that really overcame me, that I just surrendered to.  I felt like I was on hallucinogens for much of it, to be honest. 

    Oh, that is fantastic. This...this is wine. Yeah. Look what all these idiots are drinking. Look at these dicks!
    Obviously it's not really delicious, like hot chocolate or Coke, but for wine...brilliant.
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  • Personally, I go to a place where any and all rationalizations go out the window. So thinking about the possible side effects of an epidural, etc. mean nothing to me.

    Letting my body take over helped me the most. I could tell when the contraction was peaking, so I would stay super-focused on breathing slow, or rocking on the birth ball or whatever (during transition, I had to be on all fours and pretty much roared through them. Not pretty! But it worked). Once it peaked, I could take some breaths and relax from the focused relaxation, ha ha ha.

    I did prenatal yoga during my first pregnancy, and really learning how to control my breathing (and vocalize) was the biggest help during labor. 

    And like overture said, I would visualize riding a wave when a contraction would hit. Definitely getting into a groove of being able to feel my uterus tense up, etc. V v similar to being stoned, IMO! 

    DS1 - Feb 2008

    DS2 - Oct 2010 (my VBAC baby!)

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