The Transition to Parenthood Podcast* offers ten short episodes that summarize the key information that you need to know to prepare for the birth of a baby and the early days of parenting. Host Janelle Durham, co-author of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn is a mom, doula, parent educator, and childbirth educator. She brings together research-based information with realistic recommendations from her experience working with thousands of families.
Episodes are about 20 minutes long so that you can listen during a workout, during your commute, over lunch, or while waiting for a bus. The goal is to make this information accessible to you. Transcripts of all episodes are linked to below.
*Tip: If you are new to podcasts, learn what they are and how to listen at: https://gooddayswithkids.com/2018/11/27/podcasts-101/
Episode 1: Your Toolbox for Coping with Labor Pain
The most common question from people preparing for labor is ‘how will we handle the pain’? This episode provides an overview of all the tools that we can stock in a Toolbox for Coping with Labor Pain. It introduces both non-drug comfort techniques and pain medications, explores how the choice of pain coping techniques influences the whole experience of labor, and discusses the Pain Medication Preference Scale, a helpful tool for clarifying and summarizing priorities related to pain medication. Knowing someone’s preference helps to guide the labor support team in how to support them through the challenges of labor. [Transcript of episode.]
Understanding Labor Pain
I discuss the physiology of pain and ways that people who have been through birth describe how contractions feel. Given all of the physical changes and challenges of labor, it’s not surprising it is painful for many people. The acronym P.A.I.N. can remind us that labor pain is Purposeful, Anticipated, Intermittent, and Normal. However, understanding what factors make that pain worse than it has to be helps us learn how to reduce it. The Fear Tension Pain Triangle theory tells us that when we’re fearful, we tense up. As we tense, the pain increases, which frightens us more…. the fear increases, and so on. Instead, we want to explore ways to shift this to the Confidence Relaxation Comfort Triangle to make labor more manageable. [Transcript of episode.]
Stages of Labor and the 3R’s
An overview of the stages of labor and comfort techniques for the first stage of labor: Early labor, as the cervix moves from 0 to 5 cm dilated is the longest phase of labor, but also the least intense. The focus is on Relaxation, so techniques like slow deep breathing visualization, massages and baths all help. In active labor as the cervix goes from 5 to 8 cm, contractions are longer, stronger, and closer together and take more work to cope with. The focus is on Rhythm, so rhythmic breathing helps, as does movement such as walking, slow dancing, or rocking on a birth ball or in a rocking chair. In transition, as the cervix dilates to 10 cm, contractions are coming hard and fast and it can be very overwhelming. So, the focus is Ritual – find something that works to reduce pain, and just keep doing it on every contraction to help feel like there’s some control over the process. [Transcript of podcast episode 3 at: https://transitiontoparenthood.wordpress.com/for-parents/labor-and-birth/]
Episode 4 –
Comfort Techniques for Labor
Learn about comfort techniques for labor pain and learn why they work. Cognitive strategies include education to help you understand what’s happening, visualization, affirmations, and choosing to interpret pain as a positive sign of labor progress rather than something to resist. Gate Control techniques work by focusing your attention on something pleasant (like music, a beautiful view or aromatherapy) instead of focusing on the labor pain – this blocks some of the pain signals from reaching the brain, so you’ll actually experience less pain. Counter-irritants include things like biting your lip – a pain you control – to help the pain you can’t control feel more manageable. And body mechanics involves using position, movement and massage to encourage baby to move into the best position to help labor progress and be less painful. [Transcript of episode 4.]
Episode 5: Labor Support
Continuous labor support, which can be provided by a partner or spouse, other family or friends, a professional doula or by medical caregivers has been shown to reduce interventions, improve outcomes, and improve satisfaction with the birth. This episode is all about how to provide effective labor support: by learning about childbirth, learning about what best comforts the person you will support in labor, creating an environment where she is comfortable and feels able to do what she needs to do to cope without being judged, watching for Relaxation, Rhythm, and Ritual and reinforcing those, and – most importantly – helping her to feel safe, loved and protected. When someone feels safe, loved and protected, oxytocin and endorphins flow, and labor progresses faster and hurts less. [Transcript of episode.]
Episode 6: Pain Medication for Labor
An overview of medications for labor pain and childbirth – nitrous oxide, IV opioids, and epidural analgesia. For each it covers how it’s administered, the benefits – how it helps with labor pain, and the possible side effects. There is also a detailed discussion of labor support for a person using epidural analgesia. [Transcript of episode.]
Episode 7: Second and Third Stage: the birth of the baby, and baby’s first hour
Episode 8: Maternity Care Choices: choosing the best caregiver, birthplace, childbirth classes, and labor support for you.
Episode 9: Life with Baby: The postpartum period and adjusting to those early weeks and months of parenthood.
Episode 10: Baby Care and Feeding.