Any woman who has ever carried and birthed a child, in whatever fashion, deserves her own ESPN highlight reel — blood, sweat, tears and the eventual triumph of holding her newborn baby. To be clear, childbirth isn’t a game. You can’t plead with the referee when you don’t like a call or leave the field when you’re tired.
Still, as a lifelong athlete, I saw childbirth, especially an unmedicated one, as the ultimate challenge of physical endurance, mental stamina and my ability to handle pain.
When I became pregnant in January 2018 and set about preparing for the monumental task of birthing a human, I loaded up on prenatal vitamins, kept a daily routine of birthing stretches and exercises, and endured an eight-week birthing course. An image of the lead female competitors in the New York City Marathon, who bring me to tears when they run past my Brooklyn apartment each year, filled me with confidence for labor. Washboard-like abs. Lean legs showing off every strand of muscle. Calm, focused and confident expressions on their faces.
However, as my due date came near, I clung to a fear of pain and the unknowns out of my control. How long would my labor be? Would my mind fall apart? What if my pelvis wasn’t the optimal shape or I stopped dilating?
Many expectant mothers worry about the physical pain that accompanies labor and childbirth. New research suggests that including mindfulness skills in childbirth education can help first-time mothers cope with their fear.
(click link to read this great post on NY Times website)
Dr. Stuart Fischbein chuckled when he read the title of the press release: “Women with a fear of childbirth endure a longer labor.”
The release was promoting a study published this week in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Researchers at Akershus University Hospital in Norway found women who feared giving birth were in labor for 1 hour and 32 minutes longer, on average, than those who had no fear.
“I’m glad there’s now evidence to say that,” Fischbein said, “but it’s obvious.”
For those of us who aren’t OB/GYNs, it may seem more like a cruel joke. Women who are afraid of the pain and the possible medical complications associated with giving birth have to suffer through it longer?
**Currently St. John’s in Santa Monica and GraceFull Birthing Center in Silverlake are the only facilities in the LA area that offer nitrous oxide during labor, to my knowledge.
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (KABC) —
Many women have turned to laughing gas as a drug-free alternative to get through the pains of childbirth.
New mom Megan Edmonds gave birth to baby Asher with the help of laughing gas, also known as nitrous oxide.
“My goal was to, to try to get through with no drugs and no epidural. It just takes the edge off. I would say about 35 to 40 percent of the edge in the beginning of contractions and everything,” Edmonds said.
It changes and alters the perception of pain for patients, according to Dr. Albert Phillips at the Providence Saint John’s Health Center (PSJHC).
The PSJHC is the first hospital in the region to offer nitrous oxide for birthing moms.
“Nitrous oxide is actually being used all over the world, but here in the United States it didn’t seem to get as much favor as it did in other parts of the world,” Phillips said.
(click link at top to read entire article on abc7.com)
I spent all of my 30 hours of early labor at home, and most of my six hours of active labor there as well. I continued to delay calling my doula, not knowing how much longer I would be laboring, and certain that I needed that “tool” in my tool belt to realize my goal of an unmedicated, birth center birth. My doula met us at the birth center, and two and a half hours later my daughter was born in the water and placed on my chest.
Now, I won’t break it down for you (though my husband might) what it cost us per hour to have doula support for my final 2.5 hours, but what I will tell you: