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Part 3: Let's bring this baby home!!
We have been diving into the three R's that all work wonderfully when done in sync with each other to ensure a peaceful childbirth experience.
We began with RELAXATION. Then we felt the RHYTHM. Now let's bring this baby home and discuss the last R:
Creating a ritual for birth is icing on the top of your baby's birthday cake. Ritual helps you sink deeper into Laborland, noticing the big picture rather than all the distractions, sensations and chaos around you. Here are some rituals that are catalysts for any birth.
1) Meditation & Prayer --
Question: What do the brains of a person in meditation and a woman in labor have in common?
Answer: Their brains are both in Theta.
Theta brain waves in the brain are exhibited when a person is in deep relaxation or mental imagery. In this stage, we also dream. This stage is just after Alpha waves, which are when we have a relaxed focus, increased seratonin production, and experience pre-sleep. During labor, it is best to optimize the stages between Alpha and Theta stages of brain waves.
We can do this through meditation or prayer. If you already have some type of similar practice, challenge yourself by calming your mind every day until baby arrives. You can also attempt your practice with distraction, like various noises around you that your mind can jump from one to the next (also called non-focused awareness). Another distraction is the ice cube contraction: hold ice tightly in your hands and time a minute contraction. Try different techniques during your ice contractions and see what helps you not focus on the intensity of the ice in your hand but on other things, like other sensations or breath.
Feel free to contact me for more tips on how to do this fun exercise!
2) Affirmations --
When you have positive affirmations showering you during labor, time seems to pass by and contractions have a purpose. It is easy for the mind to wander, thinking that something is wrong and that contractions are too painful to go on.
Affirmations are just sayings that have meaning to you. You can find them in books or come up with them on your own. I have clients write out affirmations on colorful notecards and stick them all over their laboring space. That way, when you need a word of encouragement, you don't need to ask for them. You can look around your room and find a message meant just for you.
You may check out Hynobirthing for Affirmations. They are sensational!
We live in a world where control is king. As women, we want to control the labor process, so we will read and research until our brains are numb. We create the ideal birth plan, hoping that much of it will happen the way that we want it to.
I want to be real with you ladies. The day your body decides to go into labor is the day you lose all control. Labor is all about surrendering! Surrendering to your body, your baby, and the process it is going to take to deliver a healthy and happy baby, and a new mama!
The one thing we can control in labor is our breath. Focus on the breath and learn some different breathing techniques for the stages of labor. Breath is paramount to maximizing those contractions to urge that baby down. Use what you have, YOUR BREATH, to your advantage.
4) Hire a Doula --
There are many evidence-based reasons for having a labor support person with you during your birthing experience. Doulas have the expertise to assist you with physical comforts, emotional support, and information. A doula provides a wealth of support that you wished you had. With all the up's and down's that labor entails, it is worth having someone in the room with you that has a calm demeanor and a sound mind to help you make informed decisions and make you feel safe during your journey through Laborland.
Final Thoughts --
If what you are seeking is a natural birth, and all you have is today to prepare for labor, I have only one piece of advice:
Ground yourself in love and let all the rest go.
Part 2: Feel the Rhythm, Feel the Rhyme!!
Childbirth practices around the world all seem to carry 3 similar traits. Some cultures lean on one of the three R's more strongly than others but in truth, they all work wonderfully when done in sync with each other.
Below are some tips that I have come to find as the most helpful. They all encompass the 3 R's in one way or another:
We began with RELAXATION (click to read the first blog post).
Get ready to "feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme!!"
1.) Music -- I am a strong believer in the power of music. Music does what words alone cannot do. It speaks to the heart. Find songs that incite joy, peace, harmony, love, and freedom for you. Make a playlist that speaks to you alone. If there is a special song that instill emotions that make you cry, this is especially helpful in those trying times of labor. When you feel like you just can't go on, request that song to push you through to your next labor surge. Crying is SOOOOO good for labor. It helps let go of whatever we are holding onto and it will help baby inside know that it is safe to come out. My song was "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten. I had my baby within the hour of that song being played!
2.) Vocalize -- Ina May Gaskin says "The same energy that gets the baby in gets the baby out." In labor, we want to control the situation. But it's just not possible to control our bodies. The only way to cope is to let it out - vocalize and express what is going on inside. LOW and DEEP sounds encourage baby to descend. Normally, when we experience pain, we make high pitched noises. "Yipe! Ouch! S***!" This increases pain. In turn, singing is found be helpful for some women. Let it all out with ooo's, ahh's, moo's and horse lip sounds. Whatever else comes out WILL get baby moving. From a physiological standpoint, all OPEN orifices of the body make contractions more effective.
3.) Feel the Rhythm -- Creating movement in our bodies during labor is the single most effective way of hastening the birth of a baby. The most common problems with laboring women is that they don't move enough!! The more of a rhythm you create, the easier it is to focus on the hard work you are doing than the intensity you are feeling! So before baby arrives, get a birth/yoga ball and roll on it or lean against it on the floor, slow dance with your partner, walk, squat, lunge, do hip rolls, sway, and cat/cow that baby out. You'll be glad you did! I'm sure music can assist in feeling the groove as well...
Stay tuned for Part 3 very soon where we find out what the last R is!! Are you rrrrrrrrrready???
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