I shared a snapshot from my birth journal a while ago about births that take a few days to get into the steadily-progressing phase of the birth process. While I have a very trusting philosophy about childbirth and believe that births that take their time picking up, slowing down, and picking back up again are doing so because that is what the mother and baby need for their birth, many people start to worry about birth being “stalled”.
Mention “stalled labor” or a birth that has been starting and stopping for a couple of days to a doula or registered midwife, and you are bound to get piles of advice about how to get your birth going. All kinds of tips will be thrown your way, from acupuncture, to chiropractic treatment, to fancy Spinning Babies moves, to herbal medicines.
But most of the time, I really think the best thing for a birth that has a few rounds of quieting down is NOT trying to kickstart it. Trying to force things often seems to wear mothers out, physically and emotionally. Resting or sleeping when possible is important, going for peaceful walks, keeping your hips relaxed by moving them with pelvic tilts and hip rocking can be nice, and getting a massage or chiro treatment for relaxation and self care can be lovely. However, I like to see those used only gently and intermittently in the name of feeling GOOD as opposed to really trying to force a shift into high gear. Women’s bodies and babies take breaks when needed, and know much better the best rhythm for each birth than our minds do!
Slow-and-start births can be a mind game… Stay present and don’t let your mind tell you stories about what is going to happen in a few hours, the next morning, or the next few days. Your baby will find the way out and your body will allow it to happen in its time. Try not to wear yourself out by attempting to force something that isn’t quite ready to happen.
Jessica Austin, Childbirth Services in Vancouver, BC