Women all over the world use their breath to help them birth. They focus on their breath and tend to breathe deeply as a way of coping with the intensity of contractions/expansions.
We always have our breath with us. We are constantly breathing. Women in labour instinctively know how to breathe. Pregnancy provides a wonderful time to take time out and practice some simple breath awareness. If you can incorporate it into your daily life, learning to let go will come easier in labour.
Start by taking a deep breath (do it now!). Notice how long your breath out is. Is it long or short? Is it deep or shallow? If your mind wonders... that’s ok... just come back to your next outward breath. Follow it and focus in on your breath.
Are you feeling better already?
Your breath will oxygenate you and your baby (twice the reason to breath deeply!).
By quietening your mind, it helps you be present on the here and now. Time can pass more quickly when you are focussed on the present and when you can still your busy thoughts.
Keeping active in birth also comes instinctively to a lot of women. Movement helps to reduce pain. It gives the mind a focus and disperses pain in the body. By moving around, this also helps the baby to find the best position (to press against the cervix and help it dilate and also to make it’s way into the pelvis and birth canal).
Try bouncing on a birth ball (yoga ball) or circling your hips. Belly dance is another great way to help your body open. Try large circles with your hips, figure eight movements or pelvic circling.
Walking and keeping upright are also great for helping labour establish and it keeps gravity on your side! Upright positions or hands and knees can increase the pelvis opening by up to 30% (compared to lying your back). Amazing hey?
Many women find their voice in birth. Even previously quiet women find their inner tiger (and for good reason too)! There is a strong relationship to our mouth and our cervix/yoni. Having a loose jaw and mouth means we are more likely able to open in birth.
Try clenching your mouth and making a high-pitched sound... what just happened to your pelvic floor? Did you feel it tighten?
Now... feel what happens if you relax your jaw/mouth and make a deep sound or sigh. Did you feel your pelvic floor relax too? This is very important to remember in labour!
A loose mouth and deep sounds will help you open beautifully. Try it with movement and bring focus to your breath and you’re well on your way to a more natural and enjoyable birthing experience!
For more information about the above or to delve deeper into holistic birth preparation (antenatal classes), please make contact with me! I run regular Birthing From Within prenatal workshops. Phone 0429 308 851 or check out the 'Antenatal classes' page here.