Hypnobirthing and epidurals! I know that for some people these aren’t 2 words that classically go together… but they do on my course. If you make an informed decision to have an epidural there’s lots you can do to make sure you have a positive birth experience. Here are a few ideas…
I love this photo from Eva Rose photography of a mum getting ready for her epidural which perfectly illustrates my point 1) below!
1) Keep your oxytocin levels high
Even if you can’t feel your surges / contractions, they’re still being driven by the hormone oxytocin (unless you’re being induced with a synthetic oxytocin drip). So keep your birthing space dimmly lit, quiet and full of hugs, love and encouragement to encourage oxytocin to come out and play.
When you go into labour a different (and more primitive) part of your brain takes over. To keep it engaged you need to make sure you switch off your neocortex (the more modern part of our brain). This means avoiding chatting and stimulation and focusing on your breathing / listening to hypnobirthing MP3s.
3) Wait for it to wear off before you birth your baby
Once you’re fully dilated the World Health Organisation suggest waiting for 1-2 hours for the epidural to wear off a little. This means that you’ll be able to regain feeling so you can feel your natural urge to birth your baby and follow your body’s lead. It also means you’ll be able to get yourself into a more upright / forward / open position to get gravity on your side and make this stage of labour more comfortable for you.