Isn’t it interesting that our mindset can actually, in many cases, dictate our labour and birthing experience? Incredible really.
In a recent interview, conducted by Birthsparks, pregnant women were asked what were they most worried about when thinking about their labour and birth. They had several options to choose from, but the top 2 worries were ‘having an unplanned intervention’ (e.g. forceps), and ‘having an emergency c-section’.
So what can you do to help avoid these outcomes, and how is your mindset linked to them?
First things first, for some women, having an unplanned intervention, like the use of forceps, is medically necessary to deliver baby safely. Likewise, having an emergency c-section can also save both the lives of mother and child. This is obviously primordial and goes without saying. However, it’s before this end point where you can take more action and control over your birth. During pregnancy is when you should fill yourself up to the brim with lots of information so that you can, for the most part, try to avoid situations like this.
The hormone oxytocin contracts your uterus and dilates your cervix. It is essential in the birth process. The more oxytocin produced, the more efficient your contractions will be. But it doesn’t like the limelight! To flourish it needs a relaxed, calm mama and a warm and private environment. By getting into a positive mindset and teaching yourself how to remain calm, during your pregnancy, can lead you to a calm and more straight-forward birth. Here are some tools to help you create a positive mindset for labour:
- Deep breathing – inhaling through the nose, allow the belly, ribs and chest rise up and out to the sides, exhaling through the nose and let everything release. Aim to lengthen each inhale and exhale.
- Birthing affirmations – create two to three positive affirmations and repeat daily.
- Meditation – don’t panic and think that meditation is for tie-dyed hippies only, 5 – 10 minutes a day is awesome. If you are new to this, go look at the brilliant Headspace app.
- Guided Relaxations – super easy, super effective
- Visualisations – actually visualise yourself in labour, think about where you are in your house, what you are sitting or standing on, what can you see around you, what can you smell?
- Hypnobirthing – there are several courses you can take. GentleBirth is also a good resource.
- Positive Birth Stories – there are tons of these all over the web but I like this site Positive Birth Stories. Whenever anyone starts to tell you about their ‘horror’ story, smile and say that you aren’t focusing on negative birth stories right now!
- Yoga and any form of exercise which makes you happy and gets those great endorphins going 🙂
If you want to get my top tips for an easier birth click here.