Who has ever said during labor, I can’t do this anymore? Many times this means you will be meeting your new baby soon. The official term is transition. This is the time most of us go deep within.
Are you planning an unmedicated birth? Transition may be the time you start doubting yourself. Be reassured that this intensity is short and your body is made to birth your baby. You got this!!
I previously discussed early and active labor. Transition is the last phase of Stage 1.
So what is transition?
This stage is the shortest and most intense phase of labor. You might not agree in the moment, however this is an exciting part of your labor where you are transitioning to the next stage of labor, pushing!
What to Expect:
- Irritability, feeling out of control
- Shift in intensity of surges
- Surges are longer lasting around 90 seconds
- Surges are closer together, around 2-3 minutes apart
- Surges may also come back to back during this time and you feel as though you are not getting a break
- Nausea and vomiting
- You have feelings of giving up and may ask for help (this is where you need to remember, you will be meeting your sweet baby soon)
- Quick changes in body temperature. One minute you are hot, the next cold
- Rupture of membranes if not already
- Starting to feel rectal pressure
5 Tips on coping:
- Let go and surrender. When you fight your body responds by tensing up. The less tension and anxiety you feel, the less stress hormones will be released and will help for a faster transition to pushing stage. The waves are much easier to ride when we aren’t fighting them. Let go. You are so strong and you got this!
- Go within and focus on your breathing. When the intensity picks up, it becomes harder to focus on breathing and you start becoming more aware of your bodies stronger sensations. This is the perfect time to go deep within and recenter. I remind my clients when things start to pick up, it’s the perfect time for their minds to slow down. Take one surge at a time. Nice long deep breathes. Focused breathing also starts to create a nice rhythm.
- Visualizations and affirmations. Visualization is a great tool to use between the waves and deep breathing. By reminding yourself that you and your baby are safe and your body is progressing perfectly through labor, your body releases endorphins in response to pain. Endorphins are the bodies natural painkillers and the calmer you are, the more endorphins that are released. By staying relaxed and confident in your bodies abilities, you are keeping adrenaline, the fight or flight hormone, low.
- Get moving. You may not think it’s a good idea in the moment, however moving can help to open up your pelvis and it also creates another distraction as you move from one position to another. Sometimes telling yourself…or birth partner or Doula suggesting you take 4 surges here, then let’s move to the next position for another 4. Try squatting. Hands and knees. Slow dancing with partner.
- Get vocal! Do not be scared to make noise. I teach Hypnobirthing and I notice some women are scared they “aren’t going to get it right and going to be loud”. Let me start with, I growled all my babies out and I practiced Hypnobirthing. There is no wrong or right way to birth your baby. And I have seen women not make a sound. Just make the sounds low and deep not high pitched triggering danger. Letting it out is much better then holding tension in your face and clenching your jaw.
I hope these signs and tips are helpful! I believe in you and I believe in birth! You got this mama! If you have any questions or would like me to address a certain topic please leave a comment below! Best wishes!!!
Tanya Grazione Tampa Bay Doula