240 chapter 11: Labor and birth
How to make labor easier
Make sure you pass urine. Try to pass urine at least once every hour. You will be
more comfortable if your bladder is empty. Also, women with a spinal cord injury
will be less likely to get dysreflexia if a catheter is left in place all during the labor
and delivery so that urine can drain out.
You will probably sweat a lot during labor. So it is important to drink water,
juices, or herbal tea when you can so you do not become dehydrated.
Change your position several times, at least once every hour. Practice ahead of time
moving from one position to another so that when labor starts, you can change
position more easily between contractions. Ask someone to help if necessary.
The more comfortable and relaxed you are, the more relaxed your muscles will
be, so it is less likely that they will cramp or spasm. Also, when you change your
position often, you will be less likely to develop pressure sores.
Walk around between contractions if you can. Walking helps the womb open
and the baby move down.
Breathing during labor
The way you breathe can have a strong effect on how your labor will feel. You can
practice different ways of breathing throughout your pregnancy so you will be ready
when labor starts. For example:
• Slow, gentle breathing: Breathe in through your nose to take a long, slow
breath. To breathe out, make a kiss with your lips and slowly blow.
• Hee breathing: Take a slow deep breath and then blow out
short, quick breaths while you make soft “hee, hee”
• Panting: Take quick, shallow
• Strong blowing: Blow hard and fast.
During labor you can choose whichever breathing methods help you the most.
These positions can be used
during both labor and birth:
If you have little or no leg or arm
control, you can sit on a lap.
Or you can rest on
cushions in a half-
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007