Some people might laugh at me when I say that labour can be comfortable and enjoyable. Maybe they think I am nuts. (I guess I am a little!) However, I can put my hand on my heart and say that the contractions, for both of my children, didn’t really cause me any real discomfort. I am by no means a warrior, nor do I have any super powers; in fact I am quite a weakling when it comes to muscle power in everyday tasks. What I did possess in the lead up to both labours was information, tools and techniques.
By information, I mean that I researched what to expect from labour and learned what my body had to go through in order to help my baby out of the womb and into this world. I did this by: reading books, attending the NHS Parent Craft classes and teaching myself hypnobirthing techniques in pregnancy that would become second nature during labour and birth.
By understanding what to expect and how to deal with birth, meant that I could go into the experience with a positive mindset. It made sense that the uterus contracts regularly to help ease baby gently into the birth canal. Nature doesn’t intend for this to be painful, but when we are scared we tense up and when we tense up the muscles don’t work efficiently because they have to work against the tension (creating the pain that people often associate with birth). If we relax and let go, these muscles can work more efficiently and without working against the resistance (therefore pain-free).
So how do you get to remain calm and confident as your labour-day approaches?
Become knowledgeable about the process of late pregnancy and birth. Understand what options may arise on the day and know, what the pros and cons are and what choices you can make. You can do this by going to classes in your area. The NHS often provides a range of free classes, or you can look up independent businesses that support women in pregnancy, such as pregnancy yoga, hypnobirthing and relaxation classes.
By understanding the biological changes within the body you learn to accept that this has to be. Working against it, only makes it harder for you. Try to figure out if there is anything that is worrying you about birth. Can you seek advice from someone who can help allay those feelings? Your midwife or an independent antenatal educator may be able to advise you.
Tools to help you relax during labour
There are a host of tools that you can use during your labour to give you comfort. Here are some examples of what you might find useful to use:
1. Rocking on a Birthing Ball / Bounding on a birth ball
Time spent gently moving back and forth on a birthing ball as you breathe deeply, can help you relax during labour. Rocking back and forth, side to side or rotating the hips, either in circles or figures of eight, can help encourage baby to descend lower into your pelvis. You can also try bouncing gently on a birthing ball. Always ensure that your hips are slightly higher than your knees, this will help tip the upper part of your body forward, which will then put the baby’s weight on the front part of your pelvis, allowing it to widen and give your baby more space to descend. Being upright in birth often speeds up labour.
2. Being in or under water
It is recommended in early labour to have a bath or shower. Who doesn’t like spending time under or in warm water? This enables relaxation. When you are calm and happy the body produces the hormone oxytocin, which is one of the major hormones that facilitate contractions. Try sitting in a shower with the spray against your back, or lying in a bath, in early labour.
If you choose to give birth in hospital, you can use the bath or shower in your room too, or if you want to use the birth pool for relaxation in labour, this is possible too.
Not all birthing centres or hospitals have a tub or shower in the room, so this is not always possible.
3. TENS machine
A TENS machine sends electrical pulses (on your back) which are believed to prevent pain signals from reaching your brain and stimulate your body to release natural, feel-good substances (endorphins).
Make sure you have your favourite, relaxing songs on your phone, tablet, or laptop. Don't forget your headphones, as maybe your taste in music isn’t the same as yours – and vice versa!
Wonderful smells help you relax and feel better, so take fragrant lotion or potpourri for your room to give yourself a lift.
Women who have attended hypnobirthing classes agree that this has helped them be focused, relaxed and it has reduced muscle tension and pain in childbirth (they don’t tend to labour like the scenes you see on TV. Hypnobirthing takes practice, so that the techniques that you learn become embedded and can be easily used during labour.
Breathing techniques help keep you relax and focus your attention. Visualising a beautiful scene in your mind, one that makes you feel safe and relaxed is also taught, so that you can focus your mind on this place when you have contractions. Read more about hypnobirthing classes.
Have your partner massage your arms, legs, or back during labour to help you relax and to decrease tension and pain.
8. Walking or Rocking
Walking, or even just pacing right by your bed, decreases discomfort while helping your contractions become stronger and more regular. Or you could try rocking back and forth with your partner while leaning on him.
9. Changing Positions
Don't stay in the same position for too long, and don't lie flat on your back. Instead, try sitting up in your bed or a chair, lying on your side, squatting and rocking on a birthing ball, or leaning forward over the back of a chair or your birthing bed. If possible being mobile during labour helps your contractions progress.
The important thing for now is to do your homework. Find out all you can about your options, talk to your health care provider, and trust yourself to make the decisions that will work best for you and your baby.
Follow Magical Baby Moments on its social channels:
Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
Magical Baby Moments is a Romford-based company offering all expectant parents hypnobirthing classes in Romford and Upminster in Essex.
To help couples with different work patterns and external commitments, Magical Baby Moments offers hypnobirthing courses on weekends as well as week nights.
Weekend courses are a wonderful way to get all the information in one short burst. The weekend hypnobirthing course runs from 10am-4:30pm on Saturday and 10am-1:30pm on Sunday. Whether you are looking for a Romford Hypnobirthing Course or Hypnobirthing classes in Upminster, both settings are relaxed, friendly and welcoming. Groups are limited in size to enable as much interaction as possible; so that couples feel comfortable to ask questions
Hypnobirthing courses are beneficial any time from 20 weeks onwards. Don't worry if you are further along, it's quick and easy to learn the techniques and information to enable you to have an empowered birth.
Whichever hypnobirthing course that you choose, it will include 10- 12 hours of teaching time. You will also receive:
1) The Katharine Graves Hypnobirthing Book
2) Colour & Calmness relaxation tracks
3) Handouts that support the lesson plans
4) Support by phone/email up until the birth of your baby.
2018 Weekend Hypnobirthing Courses
These are all the weekend hypnobirthing courses taking place in 2018 with Magical Baby Moments:
You can book you place directly now via PayPal, by visiting out Classes page.
Read what couples who attended Magical Baby Moments Hypnobirthing course, thought of the course content and the hypnobirthing teacher.
What better way to get to know what people thought of the course than through their feedback: Go to our Testimonials and Birth Stories pages to read more, in the meantime, here are a few:
"We found the course to be easy to follow with great opportunities for discussion to develop our understanding to best prepare us for the birth of our first child. Feeling positive about the next steps..."
"The hypnobirthing experience has been very insightful and interesting. I no longer feel scared and anxious about birth and look forward to using the techniques I have learnt during labour. I would definitely recommend this course to expectant parents."
"This course has helped me change the perception around birth with the techniques learnt I hope as the partner I am able to assist in a much more relevant way."
Want to find out more about hypnobirthing before you commit to a course? Buy this book.
If you would like to find out more before committing to a course, then read this book The Power of Hypnobirthing: 10 reasons why it's for you , which explains what you will get from a hypnobirthing course.
I'd like to think that there are lots of women out there having good birth experiences. Here are some tips on how to make your baby's birth special to you.
There is so much to learn when it comes to pregnancy, labour and birth. Sadly our stretched NHS midwives are unable to fully inform women of the choices in pregnancy labour and birth in antenatal appointments alone. In many Trusts there are limits on the number of people who can attend antenatal classes. Therefore more and more women are seeking out independent antenatal classes, such as hypnobirthing. A hypnobirthing course offers comprehensive antenatal education that gives parents the time to think about their birth preferences.
Place of birth
Decide where you would most like to give birth. The choices are:
Some people quickly make assumptions on each of these settings. When you look at them in a pragmatic way, the differences are minor. However, the outcomes on the birth experiences can be significant. Make yourself a chart and list out what you want/don't want from birth. Decide which of these settings provides the best place for you to achieve the birth that you want.
Make sure you find out what labour and birth involves. It's good to find out the most common scenarios and learning what the risks and benefits are. I recommend, that you research natural births, induced births and c-section births. Read up on how labour evolves in each of those scenarios. After this exercise you will have a firmer idea about which birth you prefer?
There are many ways a woman can be supported during birth.
Natural forms of support include:
Medicalised relief includes:
Find out the risks and benefits of the medicalised pain relief options and the impact they have on both the mum and the baby. Decide from there what you are comfortable with taking. Also list those that you may prefer not to use unless needed on the day.
Learn how to relax
Once you are in control of your experience. You are more likely to be comfortable and calm. This is key to helping you relax. Simple breathing techniques; calming visualisations; positive birth statements or affirmations, are easy ways to help you feel calm and relaxed.
Learning what may happen will give you the confidence to deal with any situation that arises. If you are well informed and know your choices you are in a strong position to take control. When you make your own decisions, you will feel empowered and comfortable. These are huge steps that lead towards a positive experience of labour and birth.
Would like help learning techniques to remain, relaxed, focused and in control? Do you want to find a comprehensive antenatal class that informs you of all the common scenarios? Then hypnobirthing classes, for you and your birth partner, will help you to achieve that.
Magical Baby Moments' hypnobirthing classes not only teach you relaxation techniques, but they also covers many aspects of labour and birth. We cover topics such as:
Read more in the classes section.
Follow Magical Baby Moments on its social channels:
Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
SAVE THE DATE – 22nd September 2018
Are you trying to conceive or already pregnant? Then this is an expectant-parent event with a difference that you cannot afford to miss.
The Upminster Sanctuary is opening up their doors for, one day only, to explain all the natural and holistic support that you may be looking for (or that you never knew existed) to help you in your journey to parenthood.
For some couples, falling pregnant or going to full term in pregnancy can be a bumpy and emotional road. Quite often, this is due to an imbalance in the body of either mum or dad. Learn from our practitioners how their complementary therapies can help rebalance the body and prepare your body for conception and pregnancy.
If you are already pregnant, how can you make the most of your pregnancy? Perhaps you want to take time out with a pregnancy massage, or you would like to learn how to prepare for labour. Both pregnancy yoga and hypnobirthing can help you with this.
The Upminster Sanctuary offers the following therapies suitable for pre-pregnancy, pregnancy and the post-natal period:
On 22 September, this unmissable (Pre)Bump, Baby & Beyond Event will be take place. Join Magical Baby Moments, who will be there to explain how hypnobirthing is the must-attend antenatal class that prepares you for a calm and confident birth. You can read more about What is hypnobirthing? in this blog post.
Come along for a day of learning, sharing and celebrating the miracle of life.
Entry: £10 per couple/family.
(Each ticket will be exchanged for a goodie bag; which includes a passport to (Pre)Bump, Baby and Beyond activities, vouchers towards therapies and classes, The Power of Hypnobirthing book and lots more information on your natural and holistic journey to parenthood)
Our practitioners will guide you through a journey of discovery: what to expect when you’re expecting, or planning to, and how the complementary therapies at The Sanctuary can support you in your unique journey to parenthood.
Call the Upminster Sanctuary on 01708 251124 if you would like further information.