There are many exercises that are practical and easy that can be used to prepare you for a comfortable birth. It is useful to gather as many different coping strategies as you can to help yourself during labour and giving birth.
It is helpful to ask yourself, what makes you relax the most right now? Also, what scents or feelings make you feel the most calm? And what environment makes you feel relaxed and happy? It is good to make a list of things that make you feel relaxed calm and safe and see how you can incorporate them into your birth preferences in order to create the birth you desire.
Your emotional state and physical needs will change throughout the labour, so having a look now at what makes you feel comfortable will give you and your partner a good ‘tool kit’.
Relaxation breathing is a beautiful technique to use in the early stages of your labour. Closing your eyes whilst breathing rhythmically and easily through your early contractions whilst listening to relaxing music can create a very calm beginning. Allowing you to ease into the deeper breathing as your body opens to welcome your baby into your arms.
Moving around during your birth is a wonderful way to find comfort from the intensity of the contractions. Movement can soothe as well as deepen the birth trance. Gentle relaxed movement and deep breathing helps to release your endorphins. Endorphins or ‘endogenous opiates’ are natural opiate-like substances, similar to morphine yet our body naturally produces it in response to pain. Endorphins are our bodies natural pain killer and are released by the descending nerve fibres which travel down the spinal cord from the brain.
Meditation, deep breathing and hypnosis all assist in releasing endorphins. The local release of these endorphins inhibits some or all of the pain messages being received by the brain during labour. As the endorphin release is experienced, women begin to feel empowered rather than afraid.
Light touch and massage during labour increasing the flow of endorphin release. It can deeply relax you during labour and is a wonderful way to empower your partner as you both work together to give birth to your baby.
Relaxation techniques do need to be practiced regularly throughout your pregnancy if you want to create a firm foundation to give birth comfortably and calmly. Incorporating some visualisation, meditation or hypnosis technique is one of the best things you can do to prepare yourself and your partner for a beautiful birthing experience. If you feel tense during a contraction, the uterus has to work twice as hard to do the same amount of work. So deep breathing and massage will help the body to relax and let go of resistance and embrace the contractions with a greater confidence and ease.