How To Help Your Cervix Open During Labour

The time has come (the walrus said)!
You are finally in labour after nine long months! Today (hopefully) is your day!

It's been a few hours of labouring, and the nurses decide to do a vaginal exam. Hmm, only 2 cm. 
Not to worry mama, and definitely don't get discouraged! Every body is different and your cervical dilation is no guarantee of what's to come. Things can change very quickly in birth. 

I'm a firm believer in giving yourself every advantage possible.
Yes, they may not always work, but at least you tried and won't wonder later on "what if I had utilized nipple stimulation in labour...?".

I just want to preface this by saying that your baby knows when to be born, and your body knows how, and when, to do it. It will happen when it happens. But there are a few tricks to help you along. 

I love this beautiful wooden dilation board by From Jennifer on Etsy!

I love this beautiful wooden dilation board by From Jennifer on Etsy!

Just as there are things you can do to begin the labour process, there are some things you can do to help with dilation as well! 

Walking

Just like when you're trying to go into labour, walking helps when you're in labour as well. The pressure from the baby's head on top of the cervix is excellent for opening that bad boy up!

Nipple Stimulation

This is one way of getting that oxytocin flowing, and it's natural.
Sometimes in labour, hospitals want to speed up labour by giving you pitocin. Even though they may call it oxytocin sometimes, it is not what your own body produces. It's a synthetic form and it has to ability to make contractions unbearable.
Best to stick with your natural stuff!

Kissing

Not only is kissing another sure fire way to release that feel-good oxytocin, but it's incredible way to open your jaw.
Somehow, I'm not even sure how, the jaw and the cervix are connected.
Open jaw = open cervix.

In one of Ina May Gaskin's books she tells a story about a woman who is nearing the end of labour but she can't seem to get past that last bit. She and her husband then share a kiss, a beautiful, passionate full mouth kiss, and it's exactly what she needs to dilate fully and birth her baby.
I love this story, it shows the wonders of that mysterious connection! Plus who doesn't love kissing?

Vocalizing 

Using our vocal chords in labour has been shown to help us dilate quicker. Think of a time when you were in pain and you said "ow" (or something dirtier). It probably made you feel a bit better right? It works that way with contractions too. The sounds have to mean something though. It's important to use deep, resonating sounds, using your breath, and opening that jaw. Some women even sing in labour!

The women that can fully be their own apologetic selves are enviable in their ability to do whatever it takes. Some of us are shy though, but no less incredible. It's so so important to push past our fears though. Mamas, be loud if you need to!

Mindset

Because birth is such a private, intimate thing, there can be some mental blocks that prevent you from opening up in labour. It's vital to keep your mindset positive and focus on things that can help you. Using imagery like has been shown to help achieve goals, and it's widely used in birth with images of flowers blossoming.

Even just reminding yourself comes in handy. My last client really enjoyed it when we would say the word "open" during her contractions. I had told her ahead of time about the jaw/cervix connection, so whenever she would have a surge we would look into each other's eyes, I'd calmly say "oooopen" and she'd nod & relax her jaw.

All you gotta do is find what works for you!

-Lila

Open open open like a blossoming flower

Open open open like a blossoming flower