How Using a Breast Pump Can Speed Up Labour (Birth Story)
One week ago I was one anxious doula after I received The Call.
I was at my other job at the time and had to call a coworker to come take over for me as I had a birth to attend! (Thankfully I work with a lot of awesome people who are understanding of the unpredictable nature of my doula career!)
In a panic, I actually ended up beating my clients to the hospital by about 45 minutes, so I guess I was stressing for no reason.
Shortly after arriving we met with my client's wonderful midwife, Amanda, from Seventh Generation Midwives. For the first while that we were there, my client's contractions were a bit spaced out and not as strong as the ones she experienced in her labour with her first child, so this was throwing her off. She wasn't sure if it was real labour or not.
We were advised to keep walking around, and timing the contractions to get a better idea of where she was at so that's what we did!
After a couple of hours we all met back in her room where we tried to make a plan of action. The midwife wasn't convinced that this wasn't just early labour, and there was even talk of going home to rest and then see what happened from there.
There were plenty of options to choose from: do a vaginal exam to see how dilated she was, get in the tub which would either slow down or speed up the process (which would let us know if it was early labour or the real thing), keep walking around, or go home & try to rest.
While my client was going back and forth between breathing through contractions and deciding what step she wanted to take next, the midwife left the room briefly and returned with a breast pump.
She explained that, just like nipple stimulation, using a breast pump will get more of that beautiful oxytocin flowing and can help things along. She's seen women be induced using a breast pump before and was pretty confident in it's capabilities. So why not try?
The way to do it is 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off.
My client got hooked up and almost immediately her surges increased in intensity. She only did two rounds with the breast pump before she felt she needed to get in the tub. It was working!
The midwife did a quick vaginal check and found she was about 6cm dilated and 80% effaced.
To be honest I thought she would be even further along than that, but I know first hand how quickly things can change in labour. There's never any reason to get discouraged.
I saw the intensity my client was experiencing so I just kept on counter-pressuring her lower back, being encouraging; whatever she needed.
After just an hour in the tub, one powerful mama birthed her son into the world!
There is no telling what would have happened had she not tried using the breast pump, but I have a feeling it would have definitely been a few more hours. But you can never say for sure. All we know is what did happen. And boy, did it happen!
I feel honoured that not only did I witness my first ever water birth (so amazing), but I saw how using a breast pump can influence labour. Of course, it's important that a medical professional guide you if you choose to use one in labour. But if you feel like it may be something you'd like to try, for sure bring it up with your health care provider!
Have any of you used breast pumps to speed up your labours? Let me know in the comments!