No epidural? Pain management and alternative tips – Part 5: Yoga, Mindfulness and Breathing Techniques

Photo courtesy of Clare Island Yoga Retreat Centre, Mayo, Ireland www.yogaretreats.ie

Science now broadly recognises that the practice of yoga, which includes breathing exercises and meditation, can “actually reverse the physiological signs of stress [and can] provide dramatic and lasting pain relief in a variety of conditions” (Diane Post, MD – Harvard Health Publications)

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Communication Tools: Birth Preferences for your Birth Plan

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Your needs in birth are as individual as you are.

Your experience of labour and birth should be exactly that – YOURS. Every birth is unique and each woman will approach childbirth in her own way. It is important that you have the information you need to decide what is right for you and your baby, and that your experience of labour and birth reflects these wants and wishes. Continue reading

42 Weeks Poll – Epidural: Your Story

The birth stories last week described one woman’s experience of choosing an epidural for her first birth and then opting not to have an epidural for her second birth. We’re interested to hear if you opted for an epidural, or not and we’re interested to know whether you plan to opt for one during your labour, or not. Continue reading

Did you know? – Epidural pain relief and breastfeeding: New research

“The only thing as consistent as birth pain has been the search to eradicate it, pharmaceutically”Tina Cassidy, Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born

Pain medications in childbirth have been sought for millennia. Egyptians used opium, the Greeks chewed willow bark and, on a mythical level, Artemis asked Zeus if she could remain an eternal virgin just so that there would be no chance of experiencing the pain of childbirth! Later in history (around the 1850‘s) ether and chloroform became popular medications in childbirth, until it was proven that these anesthetics were transferred to the newborn during labour and delivery. From 1914 to the late 1960‘s, the new fad in pain relief in childbirth was ‘twilight sleep’, or scopolamine & morphine, whereby a woman was rendered completely immobile and/or semi-conscious in labour and childbirth. This method became unfavourable in the 1960’s and 70’s when women began to question their lack of agency in  labour and childbirth. There were also dangerous side-effects to scopolamine (mainly hemorrhaging and transference of medication to the newborn), hence it became an unpopular method of pain relief and its phasing out made way for the most common and effective pain relief in labour and childbirth that is still used today – the epidural. (Cassidy, 2006) Continue reading