Do you want to learn how to relax in your birth? Do you hear some women say how they just breathed their baby out?? Do you get it?? Do you know that it actually is possible and you don’t have to be naked under the moonlight to do it?
Understanding why being relaxed is so useful in birth and can absolutely help you to have a positive birthing experience. OUR bodies work better when they are relaxed…. It’s the basis of ALL birthing programs – If you are relaxed your body will open with much more ease than if you are tense and stressed.
Flight or fight reaction
If we are tense, stressed and have anxiety in our pregnancy we will most likely bring it into our birth and this really interferes with the birthing process. Unless we have learnt some key skills to stay in control of our breathing and emotions things may progress to a stressed state. The flight and fight reaction in our body- which we can’t control unfortunately … makes our births difficult…it makes our bodies not WORK properly for birth… This flight or fight reaction happens if we feel threatened, unsafe, insecure, stressed or frightened. This automatic reaction in our body takes off and we just have to go with it…
But our babies- do not want to be born into this stressed environment- so our body will actually stop birthing…Did you know this flight or fight response can be kicked off by bright lights? Have you been on your hospital tour yet? Did you see dimmers in the rooms? If not look out for them? Ask for them- if not take battery powered tea lights to get some mood lighting and reduce the bright lights.
Adrenaline is the hormone that can affect labour and slow it down and eventually even stop it. This is what you DON’T want- you want OXYTOCIN- the love hormone in your system in labour- it’s the love hormone and you need to wallow in it- it will help you stay relaxed and calm. Oxytocin in large amounts in your system will kick off spontaneous labour and you need to maintain high levels of this hormone to keep labour moving along smoothly and effectively.
How can you help relaxation and oxytocin in labour so that your birth runs smoothly? Basically, oxytocin being the love hormone can be stimulated by LOVE things… stimulation and hugging, kissing, touching, nipple, clitoral and sex.
What to bring with you
Other things that you can use to help you stay relaxed in labour and to help labour move is to think about what helps you stay relaxed when you are at home. If you are having a hospital birth, then think about what at home makes you feel comfortable and what is transportable and BRING it to the hospital. Could you bring in photos? Pictures- use blu tak to stick them on the wall. Could you bring in a favourite cushion or pillow? A special nightie, t shirt or top to wear whilst you are in labour? My sister in law sent me over the top she had worn to both my niece and nephew’s births and I was so happy to have it and wear it- although not for very long- I quite preferred to be naked in labour J.
Do you have some guided relaxation sessions to listen to? Some of your playlists that you have developed for birth? Labour? Crowning? You may want to have a couple of different ones with different moods in mind – as your labour is a journey and your music accompanying you needs to adapt with your mood.
Perhaps you have a smell- essential oil or something that you like from home- that you can bring in with you? Remember that your mood changes so have different smells for different stages of labour.
Breathing is the easiest way that we can effectively control and enhance our relaxation. By taking longer deeper slower breaths whilst in labour- we are only focussing on the here and now, not anticipating the next surge (contraction) – by just breathing into the here and now this reduces anxiety and anticipation. Using your imagination whilst breathing into the surge or breathing in the waiting periods of a surge can be really helpful. By imagining a beautiful holiday place, you have been or want to go can really distract your mind away from what is happening in your body. This is an extremely useful tool in labour and birth and can be used effectively throughout labour.
The final tip to relax during birth is the use of affirmations. Positive affirmations help us focus on positive thoughts, sayings and images to reinforce a relaxed body and mindful state. Thinking and preparing with affirmations prior to labour and birth can really help to keep you relaxed during birth. Find affirmations that speak to you, there are many to find on the internet. Develop your own and paste them around your house, use as screen savers and repeat daily in the lead up to your birth.I am Amelia Parkinson I support women to have hospital birth with the least interventions as possible. I love chatting constantly about all things birth birthing and early motherhood. Please do not hesitate to contact me. I run face to face classes in Sydney and LIVE online classes monthly. Check out www.wonderbirthing.com.au for more info. I also have a 7 Top Tip Guide to a Wonderful Birth free to download here