6 Ways to Avoid Intervention During Labour

Birth is a physiological process. If you think about the process of going to the loo – you don’t have to think about it, your body just does it when the time is right. Birth is no different and like going to the loo – it is one of the bodily functions we are born with.

Sometimes, there can be complications in which a mother and baby will need medical assistance during birth and when this happens, interventions can save lives. Sometimes however, medical interventions become necessary because a labour that has started out fine starts to veer off route and a mother needs more support. That all sounds great but if you don’t want interventions as part of your birth then it can be hard to process and you may be left wondering ‘what happened?’

In this blog we are going to look at what a cascade of intervention actually is, what it means and how you can give yourself the best chance of avoiding intervention.

Remember, we don’t want you refusing medical advice. What we want is for you to be able to make informed decisions so that you are part of the decision process in labour. After all, we are talking about your body and your baby so everything that happens in labour should be your choice.

What is a cascade of intervention?

pregnant woman having blood pressure taken

A cascade of intervention happens when a labouring woman starts to receive help during labour, and this causes a knock-on effect of more intervention being needed. This is because intervention like this tends to interfere with our hormones and the normal physiological process of birth, and this makes labour harder and more painful. What could have been a low-risk birth ends up being high risk.

Of course, there are times when medical intervention is crucial. In an emergency, it can save lives. But it’s really important to know your options and feel a freedom to refuse intervention if it’s not what you feel is going to benefit you, your body or your baby.

An example of a cascade of intervention would be induction of labour when you’re nearing the end of your pregnancy. Induction rates in the UK are high so it’s likely this could be on the cards for you. It is your choice whether you accept induction of labour.

A physiological birth starts slow and builds, a bit like going for a long run – your body needs time to warm up. Induction of labour starts at more of a fast paced jog or sometimes even a sprint. This means your muscles can get a bit of a shock and this can make labour more painful. Labour being more painful can put you and your baby in distress and if you’re not dilating quickly enough, there could be a need to ramp things up. This is where you could be offered syntocin which is fake oxytocin (the hormone that opens your cervix during labour) and if you have syntocin then there are typically no endorphins which are you pain reliving hormone. Why is this? Because you have fake oxytocin in your system and your brain doesn’t get the message to release more endorphins to support you physically and mentally. Your birth could then take a few different routes. You may become really tired and your baby could be born with ventouse. You could need a quick birth which is when forceps would be introduced and possibly an episiotomy. Finally, you could end up having a c-section. Women who are induced are 20% more likely to have a c-section.

So you see, a birth that started as low risk can quickly become high risk and this could be traumatic for the birthing mother.

How to manage pain in labour if you have an induction

pregnant woman in hospital laying over a birth ball

I don’t want you to think that if you do accept induction of labour, that you’re destined for a painful and out of control birth. Many women have positive inductions without further intervention. The key is understanding your options in advance.

There are a few really useful tools to have up your sleeve if you know you’re heading into hospital for your labour to be induced. Here are 6 ways to manage your labour if you are induced:

  1. Hypnobirthing

Taking a hypnobirthing course while you’re pregnant is an invaluable tool for having an empowering birth that you are in charge of. Long gone are the days of women going into hospital for a doctor to deliver her baby. Hypnobirthing has turned things around putting the birthing woman in charge of her own birth. She is the one in charge after all – she always has been! If you’re looking for an online hypnobirthing course then the butterbean online course has everything you need for an empowered experience.

  1. TENS

A TENS machine can be so useful during labour. You pop 4 sticky pads on your lower back and control the level they work at from a hand-held machine. The sticky pads release electrical pulses which act as a decoy when you experience pain in labour. Your brain responds to the pulses by boosting more endorphins into your system and this reduces pain and makes everything more manageable.

  1. Massage

Massage of your lower back can be so helpful during labour. Having your sacrum rubbed or light pressure applied to your hips can help to make the feeling of labour more manageable. If you have a birth partner then I’d advise practicing massage while pregnant so you don’t have to explain how to do it when you’re in labour.

  1. Birth environment

Having a dark, cosy, calm birth environment will help to boost oxytocin and endorphins which are vital for labour. Be sure to check out our video on how to make the perfect birth environment over on the butterbean platform.

  1. Breathing

Breath is so powerful during labour! Breathing slowly and deeply will keep you calm and relaxed and will keep adrenaline at bay. Adrenaline is your greatest risk during birth as it cuts through oxytocin and endorphins, makes birth slow down or stall, puts your baby in distress and will mean that intervention is introduced. Keeping your breath calm, slow and deep will help to keep you in a relaxed state.

  1. Birth pool

Getting in a birth pool is a wonderful way to relieve pain and boost endorphins and oxytocin. A birth pool is a form of natural pain relief and you can feel less exposed and more private in the pool.

 

How to deal with post birth trauma

6 Ways to Avoid Intervention During Labour

Sadly, post birth trauma is all too common and there isn’t an automatic route to get support when you’re postnatal. Here are a few ways you can seek support should you need it:

  • Talk to your GP to see what professional and free support is available to you
  • Ask your hospital for a birth de-brief. This is your chance to talk through what happened and understand the reasons why
  • Don’t blame yourself. You are not to blame. We live in a culture which teaches women to be scared of birth and this makes birth hard work. That is not your fault.
  • Don’t compare. Other people may seem like they had a wonderful birth and this can be hard to hear if yours wasn’t.
  • Have professional counselling. You may be able to seek support through your GP or privately. Speaking to a professional can be such a help in working through any challenges you’re facing after the birth of your baby.

 

For more free guidance be sure to keep on reading the butterbean blog.

woman laying on her back and giving birth

6 Ways to Avoid Intervention During Labour

woman laying on her back and giving birth

Birth is a physiological process. If you think about the process of going to the loo – you don’t have to think about it, your body just does it when the time is right. Birth is no different and like going to the loo – it is one of the bodily functions we are born with.

Sometimes, there can be complications in which a mother and baby will need medical assistance during birth and when this happens, interventions can save lives. Sometimes however, medical interventions become necessary because a labour that has started out fine starts to veer off route and a mother needs more support. That all sounds great but if you don’t want interventions as part of your birth then it can be hard to process and you may be left wondering ‘what happened?’

In this blog we are going to look at what a cascade of intervention actually is, what it means and how you can give yourself the best chance of avoiding intervention.

Remember, we don’t want you refusing medical advice. What we want is for you to be able to make informed decisions so that you are part of the decision process in labour. After all, we are talking about your body and your baby so everything that happens in labour should be your choice.

What is a cascade of intervention?

pregnant woman having blood pressure taken

A cascade of intervention happens when a labouring woman starts to receive help during labour, and this causes a knock-on effect of more intervention being needed. This is because intervention like this tends to interfere with our hormones and the normal physiological process of birth, and this makes labour harder and more painful. What could have been a low-risk birth ends up being high risk.

Of course, there are times when medical intervention is crucial. In an emergency, it can save lives. But it’s really important to know your options and feel a freedom to refuse intervention if it’s not what you feel is going to benefit you, your body or your baby.

An example of a cascade of intervention would be induction of labour when you’re nearing the end of your pregnancy. Induction rates in the UK are high so it’s likely this could be on the cards for you. It is your choice whether you accept induction of labour.

A physiological birth starts slow and builds, a bit like going for a long run – your body needs time to warm up. Induction of labour starts at more of a fast paced jog or sometimes even a sprint. This means your muscles can get a bit of a shock and this can make labour more painful. Labour being more painful can put you and your baby in distress and if you’re not dilating quickly enough, there could be a need to ramp things up. This is where you could be offered syntocin which is fake oxytocin (the hormone that opens your cervix during labour) and if you have syntocin then there are typically no endorphins which are you pain reliving hormone. Why is this? Because you have fake oxytocin in your system and your brain doesn’t get the message to release more endorphins to support you physically and mentally. Your birth could then take a few different routes. You may become really tired and your baby could be born with ventouse. You could need a quick birth which is when forceps would be introduced and possibly an episiotomy. Finally, you could end up having a c-section. Women who are induced are 20% more likely to have a c-section.

So you see, a birth that started as low risk can quickly become high risk and this could be traumatic for the birthing mother.

How to manage pain in labour if you have an induction

pregnant woman in hospital laying over a birth ball

I don’t want you to think that if you do accept induction of labour, that you’re destined for a painful and out of control birth. Many women have positive inductions without further intervention. The key is understanding your options in advance.

There are a few really useful tools to have up your sleeve if you know you’re heading into hospital for your labour to be induced. Here are 6 ways to manage your labour if you are induced:

  1. Hypnobirthing

Taking a hypnobirthing course while you’re pregnant is an invaluable tool for having an empowering birth that you are in charge of. Long gone are the days of women going into hospital for a doctor to deliver her baby. Hypnobirthing has turned things around putting the birthing woman in charge of her own birth. She is the one in charge after all – she always has been! If you’re looking for an online hypnobirthing course then the butterbean online course has everything you need for an empowered experience.

  1. TENS

A TENS machine can be so useful during labour. You pop 4 sticky pads on your lower back and control the level they work at from a hand-held machine. The sticky pads release electrical pulses which act as a decoy when you experience pain in labour. Your brain responds to the pulses by boosting more endorphins into your system and this reduces pain and makes everything more manageable.

  1. Massage

Massage of your lower back can be so helpful during labour. Having your sacrum rubbed or light pressure applied to your hips can help to make the feeling of labour more manageable. If you have a birth partner then I’d advise practicing massage while pregnant so you don’t have to explain how to do it when you’re in labour.

  1. Birth environment

Having a dark, cosy, calm birth environment will help to boost oxytocin and endorphins which are vital for labour. Be sure to check out our video on how to make the perfect birth environment over on the butterbean platform.

  1. Breathing

Breath is so powerful during labour! Breathing slowly and deeply will keep you calm and relaxed and will keep adrenaline at bay. Adrenaline is your greatest risk during birth as it cuts through oxytocin and endorphins, makes birth slow down or stall, puts your baby in distress and will mean that intervention is introduced. Keeping your breath calm, slow and deep will help to keep you in a relaxed state.

  1. Birth pool

Getting in a birth pool is a wonderful way to relieve pain and boost endorphins and oxytocin. A birth pool is a form of natural pain relief and you can feel less exposed and more private in the pool.

 

How to deal with post birth trauma

couple hugging in a forest

Sadly, post birth trauma is all too common and there isn’t an automatic route to get support when you’re postnatal. Here are a few ways you can seek support should you need it:

  • Talk to your GP to see what professional and free support is available to you
  • Ask your hospital for a birth de-brief. This is your chance to talk through what happened and understand the reasons why
  • Don’t blame yourself. You are not to blame. We live in a culture which teaches women to be scared of birth and this makes birth hard work. That is not your fault.
  • Don’t compare. Other people may seem like they had a wonderful birth and this can be hard to hear if yours wasn’t.
  • Have professional counselling. You may be able to seek support through your GP or privately. Speaking to a professional can be such a help in working through any challenges you’re facing after the birth of your baby.

 

For more free guidance be sure to keep on reading the butterbean blog.