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RaMa Mama Doula Share: What is the Ring of Fire?...

Johnny Cash played a song in 1963 called "Ring of Fire" that was not related to the birth of a baby, but describes the sensation pretty accurately. It "burns burn burns", and this is the case for the part of delivery called crowning. When mothers talk about the pain of birth, they never seem to leave out the "Ring of Fire". The "Ring of Fire" is when the baby's head becomes visible in the birth canal and is usually an indication that the mother is only a few pushes away from delivery. As the cervix has thinned, the vaginal canal dilates to 10cm, and the baby has moved down through the birthing canal, the head approaches the opening and causes a pretty intense burning sensation as it pushes through to the outside world. Most midwives say to go against the urge to push and to simply relax at this point. Allowing the uterus to do the work, will help to ensure that severe tearing doesn't occur.

Some women claim to feel nothing during this part of birth and delivery, and doctors say this is because the skin has stretched so much that the nerves become blocked, and the pain is numbed. This is a lucky chance that is not the case for most mothers. However, it doesn't have to hurt, tear, or rip at all when the proper techniques have been applied. So what are those techniques?

Vaginal massage is both fun and therapeutic. Partners can work together to achieve success and to have foreplay at the same time. Contrary to most beliefs, having intercourse during pregnancy, labor, and birth is one of the best ways to open the body with the power of Love. Before sexual intercourse, the non-pregnant partner can use their thumbs to pull the tissue around the vaginal opening apart, stretching it all the way around. One can use Coconut Oil or Rosehip Seed Oil to help lubricate and stretch the skin. This can be done the entire pregnancy, or mainly during the 3rd trimester to help open the birth canal and prevent tearing. Some doctors and midwives choose to give an episiotomy during delivery, cutting the area between the anus and the vagina in order to prevent tearing. Massage is a less invasive tool to practice to avoid all of this. There are four degrees of tearing that can occur, and the recovery time can range from zero days, to months, or longer. Vaginal massage and/or sexual intercourse are two of the best methods to avoid a long and sometimes painful recovery after birth.

The "Ring of Fire" is a different experience for every mother, but it is the turning point between being pregnant and giving birth. On the Earth, there is a stretch of volcanoes that have adopted this name to also explain the burning on the planet. It is an area where the plates move and create friction and fire. There is no doubt that this term refers to the alchemy of the old becoming the new. No matter what techniques are used, we all find our own way to move through challenges to get to our final goals. Our personal "Ring of Fire" no longer has to feel daunting and scary, just like big changes in our lives can be embraced instead of rejected. May the fires of transformation bless you with the birth of a healthy, happy, and harmonious new life!


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