I regularly hear from expectant parents that they are concerned about the pain of contractions. So if this is a feeling you have, I promise you, you are not alone.
So many (me included before I discovered hypnobirthing) think of labour and contractions as a pain that we just have to get through right? This has come from years and years of stories of labour, the media, TV, soaps, films etc etc. Even some TV programs targeted at children portray birthing a baby in a negative light! So its no wonder, when you’re pregnant, these feelings of anxiety of how you are going to ‘get through’ those contractions and birth become a frequent thought pattern.’
So what can you do to help yourself ‘manage’ the sensations of contractions?
1) Learn about them – what is a contraction? What is happening to your body during a contraction? Understand them, understand their role. Knowledge is power and it is the first step to reducing anxieties, fears and feelings of ‘How will I cope?’
2) Think about the language you use, think powerful instead of painful, or surge / wave instead of contraction (most of us have negative association with the word contraction)
3) Learn some coping strategies, different coping techniques that you can use for each and every one of your contractions, discover ways your birth partner can help you manage each every contraction too.
4) Listen regularly to your hypnobirthing relaxation scripts, this will increase your confidence and reduce feeling of overwhelm, fears and anxieties.
5) Practice, practice, practice your techniques, until they become 2nd nature to you, a subconscious action. This will allow you to easily access these tools and techniques in labour.
As you learn and develop your hypnobirthing tools and techniques, combined with increasing your knowledge of what is actually happening to your body in labour. The anxiety and fear you were experiencing will start to reduce and be replaced with excitement and feelings of confidence. Confidence in your own body’s birthing ability, confidence in your ability to manage you surges, confidence in your birth partner to be able to support you in just the right way in labour.
So what can you include in your hypnobirthing toolbox of techniques for labour?
Breathing Techniques – these are so incredibly important, slow steady exhale increasing your levels of oxytocin (the love hormones which is designed to feel good and also the hormone responsible for the power behind your surges – how amazing is that)
Use of Essential Oils – When we ‘anchor’ a smell to feeling a certain way, so for example if you always smell, lavender for example when you practice relaxation during pregnancy, you are ‘anchoring’ or creating an association with feeling a certain way i.e relaxed. So when you are in labour, surround yourself with smells that you have anchored to feelings of relaxation. This will help remind you, that you are safe, and can relax.
Use of Touch – Some people in labour love being touched, massaged, hugged, supported, others prefer not to be touched at all. Learn some massage techniques, whether that is a soft touch massage to increase your oxytocin or a more firm massage. Both can be a fantastic distraction during labour and your surges.
Stay mobile – Being mobile in labour can really help you, gravity is working with your birthing body, maintaining an Upright – Forward – Open position can really help. Think UFO. Water – Both baths and showers can be a fantastic method of comfort relief in labour. Water can relieve aches and tensions, it soothes tense muscles and can act as a distraction. The use of a birth pool can make you feel weightless and can create a private space for you (which is perfect for your oxytocin production). Water has also be shown to reduce the chance of experiencing a tear during birth.
Your Birth Environment – your environment matters, so much! Don’t under estimate just how much you can impact on your experience but looking at your environment. My next blog post will be discussing this in more detail. Think about environments that relax you, what can you do in labour to transform your space into a more relaxing environment. Use all your 5 senses to come up with some ideas.
What can you see?
What can you hear?
What can you smell?
What can you taste?
What can you feel?
If you would like to find out more about how hypnobirthing can support you and help your birth partner support you in the best possible way, then take a look at some of the courses I offer. All courses come with full support from me, from the moment you book, right up until you have your baby, regardless of which course you take. If you would like to find out more, please do get in contact with me today.