10 top tips from holistic experts for an easier labour

If you’re worried about how you’ll cope on b-day, then check out these tips from holistic experts on how to achieve a positive birth experience

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1) ‘Contractions should be less painful if you try upright positions, such as standing, walking, kneeling or squatting. When upright and leaning forward, you help the womb to do its work.’ Janet Balaskas, founder of the Active Birth Centre (www.activebirthcentre.com)

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2) ‘Ask your partner to apply pressure to your sacrum (the bone at the base of your spine) when you get a contraction to help ease pain and aid dilation. He should use two hands, and his whole body weight.’ Suzanne Yates, massage and shiatsu practitioner (www.wellmother.org)

3) ‘Acupuncture can be a good natural method of pain relief during labour as it stimulates the release of endorphins – the body’s natural painkillers.’ Zita West, author of Babycare Before Birth (www.zitawest.com)

4) ‘Make lots of noise during the second stage of labour. Many women do this instinctively, but you might not know that doing so helps to open the pelvic floor.’ Rachel Wheeler, yogabirth teacher (www.bathbirth.co.uk)

5) ‘Raspberry leaf tea can help to strengthen and tone the tissue of the womb. Have one cup a day from 28 to 32 weeks, two cups from weeks 32 to 36, and three cups from 36 weeks.’ Dee Atkinson, director of Napiers Herbal Health Care (www.napiers.net)

6) ‘Learning breathing and visualisation skills will help the flow of hormones and movements of the muscles, as well as aiding relaxation and pain relief.’ Maggie Howell, natal hypnotherapist (www.natalhypnotherapy.com)

7) ‘Oils such as lavender, ylang ylang and neroli can help relax and calm during labour, while rose, clary sage and jasmine may strengthen contractions: put a few drops on a tissue to sniff.’ Anne Badger, aromatherapist (annebadger@madasafish.com)

8) ‘Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and keep blood sugars balanced to ensure your energy remains consistent. Early on, eat porridge, toast with honey, nuts and seeds. In the later stages, soft fruits like bananas and diluted fruit juices will give you quick bursts of energy.’ Stephanie Driver, senior naturopath at Apotheke 20-20 Health & Wellness Clinic (www.apotheke20-20.co.uk)

9) ‘Massage the perineum (the area between your vagina and anus) from 36 weeks to help it expand smoothly during birth and reduce the risk of tearing.’ Gowri Motha, author of The Gentle Birth Method

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10) ‘To help healing, take an Arnica 30 pill soon after the birth, another three in the next 24 hours, three the next day, and two the next.’ Chris Wilkinson, homeopath (www.wellmother.org)

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