Updated: Jul 30, 2020
During the births of my two children I used various tools to help me stay calm and focused. The following tips guided me through childbirth and allowed me to feel empowered. I have shared these suggestions with my prenatal students and received positive feedback. They work! These are effective comfort measures to help keep your labor progressing organically.
One of the most valuable gifts of yoga is the awareness of your breath. Breathe with your whole body. Send the breath to the back of the nostrils to receive more oxygen. Inhale deeply into the back of the lungs and exhale slowly, extending your breath. Imagine filling a container with your breath from the bottom to the top and exhaling steadily from the top to the bottom. Breathing consciously will relax your nervous system and help labor progress organically.
Create a Relaxing Environment
Creating a calm atmosphere while birthing can help you stay focused and present. Keep the lights dim; bright fluorescent lights may be too harsh. Play soft music and keep noise to a minimum. Surround yourself with loving and compassionate people who will respect your wishes. It may be easier to have just one or two trusted individuals in the birthing room withyou.
Using props while birthing may encourage and support the natural rhythm of contractions. Most hospitals and birthing centers have these labor props readily available. Here is a list of useful props:
Birthing Ball - increases comfort and helps labor progress; you can sit on, lean or kneel over it
Peanut Ball - opens up the pelvis while you are laying on your side; helpful when mobility is limited
Squat Bar- attaches to the hospital bed and helps you squat; provides leverage for pushing
Mat/Blanket - use to position yourself more comfortably on the floor; helpful for yoga postures
When you are feeling intense sensations focus on breathing deeply and slowly. You can also focus on someone or something you love in your mind’s eye. Surrender to the sensation and know that it is only temporary. You will have space to restore your energy between contractions.
There is a neuromuscular connection between the cervical neck and the throat. When your throat tenses up so does your pelvic floor. When you are aware of this connection you can use vocal toning to soften the pelvic floor muscles. Vocalizing can also be very soothing to the nervous system.
Suggestions for vocal toning:
Relax your jaw, tongue and mouth
Use a low vibration (high vibrations tighten the muscles)
Use an -mmmmmm sound or any vowel sound
You can chant (OM/AUM)
Lengthen the tone to the end of your exhalation