The “ring of fire” during labor. It just sounds scary, doesn’t it?!
The ring of fire is something some women experience when their baby’s head crowns during vaginal birth. It presents a burning sensation, thus its name.
Not every woman experiences this pain and not at every birth.
It is good to prepare for it, just in case. The good news is that if you do experience the pain, as your vagina expands to push out baby’s head, the pain is typically very brief.
Here are some ways to avoid or make the pain less of a possibility…
1. Slow Down A Bit
We know you want the baby to come on out, but the ring of fire sensation is often caused by the perineum stretching too fast. Slow down. If you begin to feel a burning sensation towards the end of the birthing process, you may need to rest for a few seconds to allow the strain to release.
2. Perineal Massage
This is a preventive measure before you go into labor. Getting regular massages “down there” can help prepare the birth canal for baby, reduce the strain of stretching, and even help prevent tearing. Parents.com has your low down at Perineal Massage 101: The Other Prenatal Massage.
3. Oils, Oils, and More Oils
Some expectant moms find using oils in the third trimester helps increase elasticity and prevent the strain of stretching. Be sure to check with your doctor or midwife, as not all oils are safe. FitPregnancy.com has your safe oils guide Essential Oils Safe During Pregnancy
4. Water Therapy
Giving birth in water or even using damp, warm cloths on the birthing area can help reduce or prevent the burning sensation of stretching. This can soften the area and make it easier to stretch while baby crowns.
Hydrotherapy is particularly effective during pregnancy because the body’s physiological response to water helps improve your circulation, ease your aching back (and feet, knees, you name it), ease the pain of labor and delivery, and generally make you a happier gal. ~What To Expect
5. Breathe Through It
Breathing steadily can reduce your pain and stress and help you push at a steady pace, allowing your body to stretch as needed without undue strain. Keeping your mouth open can help, too, by keeping you more relaxed and helping you take in more oxygen.
Wishing you an easy labor and delivery!
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