Rachel, our Brand Manager, is due to have her 2nd baby any day now.  Her (amazing!) doula recently shared this piece with her about “secret sensation” time and we thought it was such great info, we wanted to share it with you too.

This advice comes from Midwife Gloria Lemay, a contributing editor to Midwifery Today Magazine, and often a keynote speaker at childbirth conferences around North America.  She advises that laboring moms keep the “sensations” that signify the beginning of labor a “secret”.  Why?  Read on.

“MANY births begin in the night. A woman will get up to pee, feel their membranes release and then an hour later begin having sensations fifteen minutes apart. Because we think of birth as a family/couple experience, most women wake up their husbands to tell them something’s starting. They get dressed, mill about, organize their bags and birth supplies, anything to keep busy and pass the time. I’ve seen so many births that take days and days of prodromal labor (under 3 cms. dilation) and typically they all begin as noted above. The couple distracts themselves not knowing that in that early critical time, the pituitary gland is beginning to put out oxytocin to dilate the cervix. Turning on the light causes inhibition of the oxytocin release. Many couples don’t call their midwives until they’ve got sensations coming 5 minutes apart at 7:00 a.m. but they’ve been up since midnight timing every one of the early sensations. If they had called their midwife at midnight she would have said: ‘Turn off the light and let your husband get some sleep. You, stay dark and quiet. Take a bath with a candle if it helps and call me back when you think I should come over.”

That first night can make all the difference, yet so many couples don’t realize that by being active, they are delaying the process. Staying active in the early part does two things – it throws off the body clock that controls sleep and waking and confuses the brain AND it inhibits the release of the very hormone you need to dilate effectively.

When you begin to have sensations, do your best to ignore them as long as you possibly can. You may want to consider keeping these feelings to yourself and having a “secret sensation time” with your unborn baby. Get in as dark a space as you can. Minimize what is happening with your husband, family and the birth attendants. You have control over your body and a say in your hormone activity. Help your pituitary gland secrete oxytocin to open your cervix by staying relax in a dark, quiet room with your eyes closed.”

Here at NüRoo, we’re wishing you the birth you’re hoping for, and will be here to guide you and your little one through the postpartum period.  Closest to Mom, Best for Baby.


Note: Gloria first shared this advice on her blog in 2009, in a post called “Insider’s Tip on How to Have a Great VBAC.  See the original post here.