Understanding your uterus can help you during labour and birth.
How fear works against the uterus
- When you experience fear during labour if it is not interrupted and dealt with it will turn into tension. Dealing with fear during labour is something that you can learn how to do while you are pregnant, so it is easier if it comes up during labour and birth.
- When you hold tension during labour the tension is held throughout your entire body including your uterus. Which means when you are tense your uterus is working extra hard, and the contractions are not as effective as they could be when contracting. Which can lengthen labour and birth.
- If you do not deal with the fear and tension your uterus does not get the chance to remove muscle waste (lactic acid) can produce too much lactic acid which causes pain. Lactic acid pain during labour is the sort of pain that doesn’t stop in between contractions. Dealing with your fears emotionally con stop this from happening.
- If you are still in this cycle, you could now be in the “Symptom” stage of the cycle. It is the “symptom’ stage because you are in pain in between contractions with the above all together. Which can then be a cycle back into fear and so on and so forth.
Clenched jaw & labour
- Your jaw and your pelvic muscles are interconnected and deeply affect one another. Clenched jaw equals tight pelvic muscles which equals to your body working harder during labour and birth.
- Deep toned sighing, relaxing your jaw and throat during labour helps to release tension in the pelvic muscles.
- Deep breathing will help the bodies awareness and remind you to open your jaw and throat.
- TIP!! Practice deep toned sighing and deep breathing while you are pregnant so you know what it should feel like during labour.
Some things that happen to the uterus throughout labour
- The uterus tightens/contracts which the tightening and drawing up helps to thin out and open the cervix. The cervix is needed to be 100% effaced(thin) and 10cm dilated(open) for baby to move down the birth canal to be born vaginally.
- As labour progresses and contractions are becoming more effective the uterus is thickening and bunching at the top into the pelvic area which pushes the baby into the birth canal.
Some of the things that happen the uterus towards the end of pregnancy
- Towards the end of pregnancy, the blood flow increases around your pelvic region to prepare your uterus for labour and birth. The increased blood floor helps to loosen and relax your muscles and ligaments in preparation for labour and birth. When you hear about people being told to rest at the end of pregnancy it is because doing strenuous activity towards the end of pregnancy is taking the extra blood supply away from the pelvic area which can delay the body being ready to start labour.
- You may experience twinges and movements in your uterus and surrounds. This is generally a sign that your body starting to prepare for labour and birth.
- Braxton hicks contractions also known as false labour are a way your body can prepare for labour, some people can feel them others cannot, think of them as practice contractions so when you do go into labour it knows what to do because it has had some preparation beforehand. These can be described as feeling like tightening of the belly (uterus) or period cramps however Braxton hicks are different to real labour contractions as they do not take your breath away and you can be distracted during them.
Understanding your uterus - 3 muscles
The band muscles are what I like to think of as rubber bands at the base of the uterus. These muscles act in a way that throughout pregnancy hold the base of uterus tight and closed so the baby stays in and keeps bacteria out so it can not harm baby.
These Figure 8 fibers are throughout the uterus and are doing a lot of work in the “pause” between the contractions. During the pause these fibers work to remove the muscle waste and refresh the blood and oxygen. So, with every new contraction your uterus has it has what it needs to work efficiently to progress labour. When you are in between contractions your body still knows what to do to help the process along.
These long fibers are the outer layer of the uterus. These are the fibers that you feel doing work during contractions. These fibers when contracting draw up from the bottom of the uterus to the top. These are what help push you baby down and out. They are working all the way until baby and placenta are born.
If you are interested in learning more, please feel free to check out my website www.thenestingdoula.com.au or contact me to have a chat about my doula services.
The Nesting Doula
Follow on instagram: @the_nesting_doula