3 Simple Ingredients : Lisa’s Recipe For Birth

I would like to thank all the mothers I have had the honour to join in birth in the making of this Recipe For Birth. Come along and see some of the ingredients in action in my two workshops:

3 Simple Ingredients:


  • There is no way to judge how long early labour will take. Try and ignore it for as long as possible, but respect the need to nourish yourself and rest. For a first time mother, the thinning of your cervix can be the hardest work you do.
  • Remember once dilation begins it can take around 20 hours to become fully dilated. Irish hospitals use a dated partogram system to measure your dilation according to time. A 10 hour window is the basis of this system to reach full dilation. If you and your baby are doing well, there is no need what so ever to speed up your labour to meet the 10 hour goal. Take your time.
  • Let your caregivers know that you would like no or limited vaginal examinations. This will help you stay in your zone and defer the constant measuring of your progress. Many midwives outside of ireland are trained to recognise labour signs by watching your behavior. And of course the unmistakable sign of being fully dilated – a head appears!
  • Once you are fully dilated, there may be a period where nothing happens. No urge to push, no contractions. This is known as the latent phase and should be honoured and respected. No need to push until that unmistakable urge occurs.
  • Birthing your baby may take a few pushes up to 4 hours for a normal unmanaged birth. The most effective way for your baby to come down the birth canal is to use gravity with all fours or squatting positions to make the most room and ease your baby out.

Your Breath

  • If you baby is in a good Pregnant Breathposition and with no other complications, often with the support of your midwife, breathing is what will get your through.
  • Remember that space between contractions is just as important. Use this break to gather yourself. Follow each breath, softening tension with each exhalation.
  • Breath in and out softly through your nose until you feel like a build up in intensity requires you to blow through your mouth.
  • When you blow through your mouth, keep your lower jaw soft and your lips soft. Practice this regularly so softens comes naturally to you.
  • Make noise or vibrations when you breath out this will help to relax your pelvic floor.
  • Practice pushing your baby out when you go for a bowel movement on the toilet. Imagine you are blowing down through your bottom rather than straining to push.
  • Holding your breath during pushing isn’t helpful to you or your baby in an unmedicated birth. Go with your own instincts and be guided by your sensations.


  • Empower yourself with knowledge. Knowledge of what physiological birth is and how amazing your body is.
  • Attend birthing workshops outside of your hospital environment. Learn what the best evidence is. This can be the most useful thing you do in navigating the hospital system.
  • Do antenatal classes including visiting the birthing rooms so you know what to expect. Sometimes your choices may not be inline with dated hospital protocols. Being prepared to navigate these before hand can make a great difference.
  • Prepare a simple birth plan to help determine your choices. Making other people aware of these helps empower you in the hospital.
  • Learn to focus deeply on your breath and zone out of what is happening around you. Practice these techniques before your labour to help build your resilience
  • Avoid TV programs, people and stories with negative images about birth. Instead read and watch inspirational books and films about labour and birth.
  • Consider hiring a doula or ensure your birthing parter attends a non hospital based workshop.

To get your full recipe come along to one of my workshops. We do a labour rehearsal in Breathe into Birth Workshop (Next date: 22/05) and Preparing for Birth (Next date: 29/05) where we focus on how to build your confidence and build a birthing tool-kit with you and your partner.

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