Top Five Tips for Labour
Hypnobirthing Mumma’s top five tips for labour
As a hypnobirthing practitioner I truly believe in the benefits of hypnobirthing to give women the best birth for them. It empowers woman to make them feel in control and to trust their bodies. As a mother who had a hypnobirth these are my five tips that I always share with my clients in addition to hypnobirthing.
ONE · DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE
Breath is king! Breathe throughout your labour – from the initial first stage through to the moment you meet your baby. It is such a powerful part of labour but can be underrated and overlooked. Breathing is a natural pain relief for the body. It allows you to re-oxygenate your muscles and don’t forget your uterus is a muscle. It encourages oxytocin which is the vital hormone that needs to be flowing around the body to encourage labour. With the breathing technique I teach called ‘Up Breath’ it is on the out breath where the body produces the most oxytocin. Its a relaxing form of breath work to keep any stress or anxiety at a minimum.
TWO · KEEP HYDRATED
Keeping yourself hydrated is very important during pregnancy and it’s equally important when in labour. Keep the body fuelled with liquids to encourage your energy levels. I encourage women to drink water or coconut water if you’re looking for sweetness. Coconut water is low in calories, rich in potassium, fat and cholesterol free. Compared to an average sports drink too that many people drink for energy it has fewer calories, less sodium, but higher amounts of potassium. It also has much less sugar than regular sodas or fruit juices.
For those expectant mothers during the summer months I encourage them to freeze bottles of water. That way you can take them to the hospital and they’ll begin to defrost leaving you with cool water.
Don’t forgot to keep emptying your bladder though with all this drinking! The baby needs to pass the bladder to come down the birth canal so a full bladder can prevent this.
THREE · RELAX YOUR JAW SHOULDERS & NECK
Keep your jaw, shoulders and neck relaxed and resist clenching them during labour. Clenching in the jaw and neck is directly linked to tension in the stomach. Therefore focusing on letting go of your facial muscles will bring relaxation to your uterus and cervix. Conserve your energy don’t waste it on bringing tension into the body.
Look at a runner during a race and you’ll normally notice that their jaw is completely relaxed and obviously moves when they are sprinting. The principle is the same here for them they are trying to keep their abdominal muscles and pelvic region as relaxed as possible. The nerves in the body are intricately intertwined, and releasing tension in one area can relax muscles in another part of the body
FOUR · FEED YOUR BODY
Birthing is like running a marathon you need to fuel the body. Try to eat a meal during your first stage or labour. It doesn’t have to be a massive meal but a balanced plate of food will give you energy you need. If you can’t face a meal have small snacks regularly. Nuts, avocados, a piece of fruit are all great snacks that will give you an energy boost. Eating foods with a low GI means they have a low score on the glycaemic index and can keep blood sugar levels steady during labour. Low-GI foods provide natural, slowly released energy which is beneficial during labour. Foods such as:
- Natural muesli
- Wholegrain bread, pasta and crackers
- Dried apricots
- Peanuts, walnuts, cashew nuts
- Grapes, strawberries, kiwis
- Sweet potatoes
- Beans – kidney, black-eyed, butter beans
A homemade smoothie is also a great way to fuel the body as you can load it full of wonderful healthy and beneficial foods. Its quickly made and easy to digest.
FIVE · BE ACTIVE
I encourage expectant mums to be as active as they can be during pregnancy. Keeping up fitness that is safe for you and baby that you’ve always practised. Going to yoga and pilates. Swimming – anything that keeps you strong will help you during labour.
Being active then continues during labour and enhances comfort by stimulating the receptors in the brain that decrease the perception of discomfort. Any active movement in response to your contractions decreases pain and facilitates labour. Movement helps the baby move through the pelvis and there are many positions that enlarge pelvic diameters. I always try to discourage women from lying on their back as this narrows the pelvic diameter to birth the baby. If you need to rest I encourage women to lie on their side although this still prevents the effects of gravity.
Being upright really helps the body birth more effectively. There are many active birthing positions that can be used:
- Walking around
- Rocking back and forth on all fours
- Supported standing squat
- Sitting on a toilet
- Sitting astride a chair
- Kneeling on one knee and the other leg at a 90 degrees angle
These five tips combined with hypnobirthing really helped me achieve a birth I look back on as an amazing experience. If you can just remember a couple during your labour i’m sure they will help you achieve a better birth.
Interested in booking a hypnobirthing course? What to know more?
I offer hypnobirthing classes across Teddington, Twickenham, Richmond, Kingston and surrounding areas in London. So to find out more about my five tips, hypnobirthing or to book your hypnobirthing classes get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.