In trying to make birth safer for women, we have measured, timed, tested and monitored every physical parameter of pregnancy, labour and birth. Whilst that has literally saved lives, in other ways it has 'killed' the spirit of many women.
You see we are not just physical beings; we need to emcompass in our care the psychological, emotional and social aspects of pregnant women. Holistic midwifery approaches the woman from a bio-psycho-social perspective and in doing so, liberates and empowers her.
I had a real "a-ha!" moment reading, 'My surges (a more positive word I use for contractions) cannot be more powerful than me, because they are me' If we all just stop for a moment to take that in, really digest and assimilate it then I believe we would all feel very differently about birthing. When did we shift from the belief of, I can birth with confidence to I can't, and I don't know how? We stopped believing in our innate ability to birth our babies beautifully and in doing so many of us have been left with lasting traumatic experiences.
We can do better, cant we? I certainly feel we can! I am going to share with you how hypnobirthing along with a holistic approach to labour/birth can help you regain confidence and control. Whether you're pregnant, planning a baby or know someone who is, share the following pointers to help them get the birth they deserve.
1. Preparation: We plan every important event in our lives, from our wedding day, christenings, even our funeral, so, why not birth? So many women enter into labour without giving much thought to how they may expect things to unfold. Hypnobirthing techniques help you prepare for birth - with great conviction - that your labour will progress well when left undisturbed. I have seen women transform in a few short sessions from quivering, anxious wrecks to women who are positively bursting with confidence, empowered and eager to begin birth.
2. Lets Move it Move it: The strongest muscle in the entire human body, belongs to not men but women, it's the uterus! Metaphysically, it is the place of creativity and nothing affirms this more than in pregnancy. Long walks, will build your stamina and quieten an overactive mind. Pregnancy yoga can help to increase fitness and agility. Learn about optimal fetal positions for pregnancy, labour and birth by visiting, spinningbabies.com Don't choreograph every move; keep it general, go with the flow.
3. Positive Perspective: Difficulty and ease are parallel at any given moment; it is perspective that brings us ease or difficulty, force yourself to think positively. Change your language, use words that will empower you, everyone's perception of contractions is different, replace contractions with words such as surges/waves and pain, as powerful - a powerful surge is less frightening than painful contractions!
4. Mind-Body the Dynamic Duo: Don't let your body drag your mind kicking and screaming through birth, you'll only be left traumatised. Synergise the two. Use your mind to journey into the body to feel what is happening inside, for a few minutes each day, close your eyes, slow the breath and focus your mind on your feet, moving slowly to your legs, abdomen, and chest. What sensations do you feel? Stay with them, what happens next? You will come to see that sensations are transient -nothing is permanent. This is a great tool to use with your surges. Practice your affirmations, whatever you tell your mind, your body will do!
5. Scents and sensibility: What ambience and energy do you wish to create in your birth-room? Make it intimate, we are sensual beings; use all of your senses. Aromatherapy is potent! Use it to relax, uplift, dissipate fear and fill you with abundance. Aromas can help to anchor affirmations and change your brain wave allowing deep relaxation, when used with acupressure they can even give you a helping hand with your surges.
6. Breath Birthing: Breath is our life force; use it as a powerful force in your birth. Slow, deep breathing can change our brain waves from fast beta waves to slow waves that we see in alpha and theta states. This is where new learning and behavioural changes can take place, use your breath to teach yourself new ways of, 'I can and I will'.
7. Fuel Up: Just as a car needs petrol, your womb needs fuel. Make your own energy drinks, beetroot, orange and carrot juice is wonderful for endurance and many athletes find it gives them that extra boost. Dates are concentrated energy foods, eaten in the lead up to labour they may help to shorten it - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21280989
8. Stop the Clock: Count the moments and not the minutes. Ironically we can't time birth, though we try. Your body is working hard, support her and meet her with compassion and love as she moves into new phases.
9. Keep Calm & Hypnobirth: There's great joy to be found in not just birthing your baby, but birthing the 'mother' in you too. Watch in awe as your body moves your baby from the warmth of your womb to the safe embrace of your arms.
One Born Every Minute airs on Tuesdays at 9pm on Channel 4.