Updated: Mar 17
Try these 5 practical tools to help release tension, harness fear to cultivate courage and support physiological, spontaneous Labour.
There are many ways to help support and prepare physically, mentally and emotionally for pregnancy and birth.
FIRST THINGS FIRST - In your final weeks of pregnancy, set the tone by prioritising things which help you feel supported, loved, protected, and cultivate acceptance, relaxing and letting go. Due Date looming.... So lets get real and hopefully ease the pressure which many feel as they near their estimated due date. 96% of babies DON’T arrive on their estimated due date! 87% of spontaneous labours happen from 41wks+ (Sara Wickham, 2021 - In your own time).
Waiting for the unknown is challenging. In this world of immediacy, waiting for Baby demands that we show up, exercise patience, without any control of outcome. All the while managing external pressures and expectations about what your baby and your body should be doing. A date that is essentially, a guesstimate! Calculation methods currently used to estimate due dates, have NEVER been substantiated by research. and can add unnecessary pressure in the final weeks of pregnancy. Over due? What now? Climb out of the attic! One of the biggest obstacles for an overdue mama is the MIND and EXTERNAL PRESSURE.
When only 4% of birthing people give birth on that date - what are we Birth is a visceral, Not, intellectual experience. The lead up to birth is a beautifully unique and undulating journey. It cant be quantified or measured and the Adopting practices in Pregnancy that calm the mind, deepen awareness and trust in your body, baby, and Intuition help to cultivate FEELING OVER THINKING. This is a game changer when it comes to supporting the physiology of birth and the hormonal pathway which has been steadily building in the lead up to birth. 5 Ways to prepare for spontaneous labour 1. EMOTIONAL RELEASE - Cry/Laugh/Free form Movement/Dance! There is such a complex range of emotions throughout pregnancy, often heightened during those final weeks. What I have witnessed from listening to and supporting women, is a strong emotional release, or shift in mood, or energy, often precedes labour. Emotional release; a good cry, sound release - singing, shouting/screaming, laughter, dancing/uninhibited movement allows for processing, & letting go, conscious or not. Letting emotion come without labelling, or judgement as ‘bad’, ‘good’, just expressing, allows for release and cultivates internal space for relaxation and trust, in YOUR birthing process. 2. INTIMACY - The calm connection response One of the most powerful ways to encourage release of oxytocin, is through intimacy and touch. A pregnant person relaxed, connected, unthreatened, unobserved and protected, to facilitate the delicate balance of hormones during birth. Oxytocin plays an essential role in the calm and connection response in the body and supports well-known qualities such as receptivity, closeness, openness, nurturing and nourishment. The calm and connection reaction is marked by lowered heart rate, blood pressure, and lowered levels of the stress hormone cortisol, all of which are the building blocks for a physiological birth. ~ Kerstin Uvnas Moberg Ways to stimulate this calm and connection response?
A warm bath
Meditation or any conscious, mindful breathing
Gentle touch, caresses or strokes from a loved one
Take a peaceful walk in nature
Feeling the warmth of the sun on your body
Gentle yoga or movement
Laughter – watch a favourite movie or series
MEDIA CLEANSE - especially toward the end of pregnancy withdraw from heightened drama and stimulation from media/news/devises.
3. MIND SET - Clear your mind I Release Tension It can be challenging in Pregnancy, to differentiate from the social, cultural, familial and medical opinions, views, beliefs and advice about birth, and prioritise time and space to explore, trust and listen to your own instincts, innate beliefs and wisdom. In preparation for birth - Make space to feel, open and welcome whatever experience, surprises, intensity or challenges arise. It requires vulnerability, to open to fears, the unknown, find courage and personal power;
Take some time to find a safe space to sit quietly, away from distractions
Turn of devises / Light a candle / Play some relaxing music
Find a comfortable position where you can sit tall, or lean against a wall or lie down.
Focus on your breath - Feel the rhythm and length of your inhale & exhale.
Observe how you don't have to 'DO ANYTHING' the breath will look after itself
If stories, thoughts or feeling arise, don’t try to stop them. Watch them and return your attention and connection to your breath.
Enjoy time sitting in stillness, embracing silence
Release Tension with Sound
Check out ‘SoundScapes’‘ a super simple, 3 min Breath with sound practice, Below & find more FREE Pregnancy Yoga & Birth Prep Practices HERE
Read about the impact of sound on cervical dilation here
4. FACING FEAR - Finding Courage. Explore these Practical ways to acknowledge and process fears. Harness them to build courage, rather than first confronting them in labour. Fear is a very real and needed emotion in pregnancy and birth. Michel Odent states, the fear of losing control experienced near the end of labour is needed to facilitate the physiological process of birth. Adrenaline and fear are not the enemies in birth. Fear, often be felt in transition phase, on a physical level provides the energy/adrenalin needed, to birth your baby. So remember, its often a signal baby is imminent, a time to trust and REALLY let go.
FACING FEAR - Identify your Paper tigers;
WRITE DOWN - HOPES & FEARS ABOUT BIRTH LIST/MIND MAP - INNATE /EXTERNAL COPING TOOLS - SUPPORTS - SERVICES - PEOPLE YOU CAN UTILISE.
FINDING COURAGE - Intention & Affirmation ‘My Baby will come when my baby is ready. I trust my Baby. I trust my Body. I surrender to the Birthing Process.‘
Reframe fears as personal affirmations to cultivate inner belief, trust, strength and resilience. Give your Affirmation power;
Put them up where you can see them - add colour/photos/drawings…
Repeat them verbally/mentally daily or as needed
Feel them, visualise them, really sit with them, BREATHE THEM IN, let them anchor.
5. EXPRESS YOURSELF
PHOTO CREDIT: PHOTO BY RHONDAK NATIVE FLORIDA FOLK ARTIST ON UNSPLASH.JPG
Explore these ways to actively and creatively express yourself, move out of your head and be driven by feeling and intuition. In pregnancy explore non-verbal forms of expression and communication. Deepen connection with your baby, body and remove/reduce influence of external restrictions/ impressions from social or cultural beliefs. Over stimulation of the Frontal Lobe - the ‘thinking brain’ and use of verbal communication, can slow physiological birth and hinder a person’s visceral responses. TRY THESE;
Try stream of consciousness writing - Without direction or stopping, write what comes into your head, write without analysing, directing or looking for an end goal, answer. Read through it and underline/pick out key words. These can be used for affirmations/creating/discussion/dedication in ritual or movement practice.
CREATE - Draw / doodle / Birth art / Knit / Paint
Again without direction or and end goal, draw, make marks or colour. Mandalas, spirals and labyrinths are all wonderful ways to explore the process and energy of unravelling, letting go, moving inward and coming out anew.
DREAMWORK - Recall dreams
Dreams are like a bridge to our unconscious. Dreams can be vivid during pregnancy - maybe in part to do to hormonal changes and waking more during dream state. Explore your dreams using some of the methods listed above may offer ways to work through hopes/fears/wishes/anxieties and deepen connection beyond the logical and physical. Trust yourself ... Trust your body & your Baby .... Know your baby is coming.... Links / Reference https://evidencebasedbirth.com/evidence-on-inducing-labor-for-going-past-your-due-date/ https://midwifethinking.com/2013/03/27/feel-the-fear-and-birth-anyway/ https://www.bellybelly.com.au/birth/how-to-bring-on-labour-naturally/ http://www.sarawickham.com/research-updates/keeping-birth-normal-by-reducing-inductions/ Books Sara Wickham - In your own time Birthing from within – Pam England & Rob Horowitz Eat Pray Doula – Robin Lim The Oxytocin factor – Kerstin Uvnas Moberg