Relaxation is your greatest inner resource during labour
Relaxation is your greatest inner resource during labour and a very simple skill – it’s just that nobody in our culture gets taught it prior to becoming seriously stressed out. Relaxation requires willingness, patience and awareness. The more you practice, the quicker and more deeply you can relax your whole body/mind.
Birth requires a very deep commitment from all who are present to remain as calm and as relaxed as possible. The mother must remain, or continually return to, a state of relaxation and total physical openness and surrender. You will find that your face, neck and shoulders are the most important and easiest places to relax. Soften the skin and let go of any tension in the face, jaw, throat and tongue. If you enjoy the feeling perhaps ask your partner or support people to gently stroke or massage your face, scalp and neck.
The simple Body Mind Integration Techniques (BMIT)
Using the simple Body Mind Integration Techniques (BMIT) in She Births® you’ll be able to relax the whole body. The Freedom: Fear release or Blissful Birth: Affirmations visualisations talk you through the simple process of relaxing and becoming aware of every part of your body. As you become more comfortable with the process then the Lotus Flower: hand pressure and Full Birth Rehearsal can relax you even more quickly and deeply by counting down from five to one. Throughout birth continually ‘body scan’ down through the whole muscular system. Make sure that your whole body is soft and surrendered after each surge. If you are ever feeling panicky or stressed your partner can count you into relaxation and place their hands on you.
When the face is soft, spend time with awareness down in the lower belly. Visualise the pelvic bones and soft ligaments. See them stretching as though they were made of play dough and let every part of the lower body be open and relaxed as possible.
It’s said in yoga that cobbler pose – sitting with feet together with knees apart – is one of the most pain-preventative postures to practice during pregnancy. Used during labour it allows all the ligaments of the pelvis to release. Where your gentle awareness goes more blood flow, oxygen, healing and relaxation will occur naturally. Remember the nature of your nervous system that you learnt during your course.
A reminder of the benefits and ways that we can move into the Relaxation Response throughout our day and in labour; that create better health, greater happiness for us and our babies.
Moving deeper into the Relaxation Response is the fundamental key to altering pain perception. Creating an environment where Mum feels safe and deeply supported and all her physical and emotional needs are taken care of allows for less fear, stress or activation of the sympathetic nervous system.
(The relaxation response is a) bodily calm that all of us can evoke, that has the opposite effect of the well-known fight and flight response. A state in which blood pressure is lowered and the heart rate, breathing rate and metabolic rate are decreased. The relaxation response yields many long-term benefits in both health and well-being and can be brought on with very simple mental focusing or meditation techniques. People eliciting the relaxation response open a kind of door, clearing and rejuvenation their minds and bodies, readying themselves for new ideas and suggestions.
– Dr Herbert Benson, Timeless Healing: The Power and Biology of Belief