Note: This podcast was recorded before  coronavirus. For information on impact of covid-19 on maternity care, see Giving Birth During a Pandemic, and check with your caregiver for the most current local practices.

The Transition to Parenthood Podcast* offers ten short episodes that summarize the key information 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 20 minutes long so 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. Transcripts of all episodes are linked to below. Click here for the Complete Guide to Labor Support – a 2 page summary of comfort techniques for coping with labor pain.

*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

desktopThe most common question from people preparing for labor is ‘how will we handle the pain’? This episode provides an overview of all the tools in your 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 labor. [Transcript of episode.]

Episode 2:
Understanding Labor Pain

Confidence-Relaxation-Comfort Triangle illustrationI discuss the physiology of pain and ways that people who have given 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. However, the acronym P.A.I.N. can remind us that labor pain is Purposeful, Anticipated, Intermittent, and Normal. 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 to the Confidence Relaxation Comfort Triangle to make labor more manageable. [Transcript of episode.]

Episode 3:
Stages of Labor and the 3R’s

3RsAn overview of the stages of labor, plus 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, massage 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

Comfort Techniques for Labor PainLearn comfort techniques for labor pain, plus learn how and why they work. Cognitive strategies include education to help you understand what’s happening, visualization, affirmations, and re-framing pain as a positive sign of labor progress. Gate Control techniques work by focusing  your attention on something pleasant (like music, a beautiful view or aromatherapy) instead of focusing on labor pain – this blocks 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. Body mechanics involves using position, movement and massage to encourage baby to move into the best position to help labor progress. [Transcript of episode 4.]

Episode 5: Labor Support

Labor SupportContinuous 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 about how to provide effective labor support: by learning about birth, learning 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 the 3 R’s and reinforcing those, and – most importantly – helping her to feel safe, loved and protected. When someone feels safe, oxytocin and endorphins flow, and labor progresses faster and hurts less. [Transcript of episode.]

Episode 6: Pain Medication for Labor

painmed chart

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: Birth and Baby’s First Hour

photo of Newborn baby, covered in vernix, skin to skin with parent

This episode covers second stage labor – the birth of a baby, third stage – the delivery of the placenta, and the first hour of baby’s life. Addresses when to push, how to push, and positions to aid labor progress. Talks about “the Golden Hour” of bonding with a new baby. [Transcript of episode.]

Episode 8: Maternity Care Choices

Picture2Choosing the best caregiver, birthplace, and labor support for you depends on your personal goals and priorities. If you need to make  choices about interventions including induction and cesarean, you can ask your care providers key questions about benefits, risks, and alternatives. [Transcript of episode.]

Episode 9 – Caring for Your Newborn

photos depicting newborn cues

Offers a brief overview of key information about caring for a new baby – how to figure out what baby needs by observing their cues, how to meet those needs with feeding, diapering, dressing, and bathing, calming crying, and helping your baby to sleep well. [Here’s a transcript of this episode with additional information and links to resources.]

Episode 10: Life with Baby

image of puzzle pieces labeled sleep, work, baby, self-care, laundryAdapting to life with a new baby presents many joys and challenges. Learn about the importance of self-care, relationship skills, tips for managing daily tasks and returning to work. [transcript of this episode.]

Available on:

Subscribe-via-iTunes   listen-on-spotify-logo   Subscribe-to-The-Podcast-Report-on-Stitcher-Radio-button  TuneIn  google-play-badge