There are so many different conversations these days about the best methods of pain relief and relaxation during birth. From breathing and positioning to hyrdro-therapy and massage. The one thing behind all of these that I have always believed to be most important is the Mind/Body Connection.
If you ask any doula or birth partner about a mom that is truly connected during birth they will tell you it is magical. You can see them disappear into birth lala land, often times in a deep meditative state or moving in an involuntary rhythm. Anyone who has not been through it can be completely confused, how can it be possible to stay in a happy and peaceful place when you are going through that much pain. I believe the key to all of this comes in your preparation.
For me, it was yoga and Hypnobirthing. However, everyone has their own amazing methods of keeping the Mind and Body deeply connected and in active conversation with each other throughout their pregnancy, labor and birth.
When I first found out I was pregnant I was excited to explore this new world of possibilities. I continued with a relatively intense yoga and meditation practice and hoped that this practice would give me the tools I needed to get through labor. Around 30 weeks I started to panic…What if this isn’t enough? I felt like I could easily lose control and really wanted something more in depth. I found a hypnobirthing class that also had prenatel yoga and was excited to experience something more.
For me, this wasn’t something earth shattering, it was something that I already had inside of me that was woken up. I would lay and listen to the hypnobirthing tracks and be reminded of my strength, the beautiful person I was growing and how at peace I was with my body, my world and my husband. These constant reminders are what I tapped in to when the day came. Instead of spiraling out of control from the pain, my mix of Norah Jones and Hypnobirthing reminded my brain that I was right where I was supposed to be and that I was strong and capable. This process got me through 16 hours of labor and 2 hours of pushing unmedicated and although I had my moments of fear, I was always able to reset.
These aren’t the only ways to achieve this peace. I have heard amazing stories from women that come up with their own Mind Body Connection and they all work in their own way! A few are here:
Acupuncture – An amazing way to tap into your organs and reconnect your mind to your physical body. Acupuncture stimulates the mind to heal the body, work with the body and support it.
Music – I am such a huge believer in music. It can bring you back to wonderful memories, allow you to relax and with some repetitive training it can be that exact reminder of a warm, relaxing bath that you need while laying in a tub laboring.
Hypnobirthing – (From the HypnoBirthing™ site)
You will gain an understanding of how the birthing muscles work in perfect harmony–as they were designed to–when your body is sufficiently relaxed and you trust birth. You will learn how to achieve this kind of relaxation, free of the resistance that fear creates, and you will learn to use your natural birthing instincts for a calm, serene and comfortable birth.
When you have your baby with HypnoBirthing™, you will not be in a trance or a sleep. What you will experience is similar to the daydreaming, or focusing, that occurs when you are engrossed in a book or a movie or staring into a fire.
Yoga – Using prenatel yoga prior to your birth can be a way to feel all those muscles that will be working so hard for you, understand where they are and how they are stretching and elongating as your body changes with your pregnancy. Yoga gives us an opportunity to tap into our physical body and learn to relax and release muscles that are often so tense during childbirth.
Aromatherapy – Essential Oils can help relieve tension and stress and also when used during your pregnancy for relaxing and stress relieve will be helpful when you are in labor to do the same. Scent is a powerful sense for humans and when you are pregnant you are even more sensitive to it. Essential oils have electrical properties which are subject to our thoughts and feelings, so if you are using them to relax during your pregnancy often times that same scent will allow you to tap back into that during labor.