How to Handle the Ring of Fire During Your Natural Birth
Having a natural birth can be an exciting experience, but it can include pain and discomfort. One of the most challenging parts of natural birth is the sensation known as the ring of fire. Although it can be painful, there are steps you can take to manage the ring of fire and make the natural birthing process easier for you.
What is the Ring of Fire?
The ring of fire is the sensation that is felt when the baby’s head crowns and begins to descend through the birth canal. The sensation, which can feel like a burning or stinging sensation in the vagina, is caused by stretching of the perineum as the baby’s head passes through.
Steps to Handle the Ring of Fire
- Parameterize your breathing: Make sure you are taking slow, deep breaths to control the pain. Consider using a pattern such as three slow breaths in, one long breath out.
- Encourage decompressing: Allow yourself to make low sounds and practice vocalization to help the opening of the perineum. Alternately, you can let out a few deep breaths to help make the perineum more elastic.
- Stay relaxed: Practicing relaxation exercises can help keep the perineum relaxed and more elastic. It can also help focus your attention on something else, taking your mind off the pain.
- Use massage: Massaging the perineum during a contraction can gently release and spread the area and help transition the baby.
- Apply warm compresses: Using warm hydrotherapy compresses can help soften the area and reduce pain.
- Try the squatting position: Squatting during the pushing stage of labor can help open the perineum and reduce discomfort.
The ring of fire is an intense, but manageable, sensation during a natural birth. Taking the time to prepare yourself for the ring of fire can help make the experience as smooth as possible. With the right preparation and techniques, you can get through the ring of fire so that you can welcome your baby into the world.