When I got out of the shower this morning and put a newly washed towel to my face, the smell of the towel suddenly took me back to my grandmother’s bathroom. Bizzarely, I have not thought about her bathroom for years! As I stood there remenisicng for a few moments, it reminded me of just how powerful our sense of smell is as a trigger for memories and emotions.
So when preparing for birth you can actively start to create these triggers by using all your senses in the lead up to the birth which will give you a heard start to staying calm relaxed and focused.
– start burring oils like lavender or rose when you are relaxing in the later stages of pregnancy. This works especially well when listening to your hypnosis recordings. By doing this at least 7 times in the weeks leading up to the birth, your mind will automatically make the association of the smell and your physiological and mental state of relaxation. In addition familiar smells increase the production of the fabulous birthing hormone Oxytocin.
– I once supported a lady in labour whose hobby was glass ringing (when you run your finger around a glass and it makes a humming sound). She found the sound incredibly soothing and relaxing in general life. When in labour her husband just had to run his finger around the glass once and you could visibly see her body completely relax – no one said anything or even touched her – just the sound sent her into deep relaxation. Find some music that you really enjoy that relaxes you and again play that during your pregnancy when you are actively relaxing. If you are using Natal Hypnotherapy then make sure you have the Relaxing Birth Music (the background music) to play during the birth
– so many of us instantly relax when we feel someone’s hands begin to massage our shoulder or when we have a bear hug with a loved one. Touch can feel so safe and reassuring. You can practice this by asking your partner to place his hand on your shoulder when you are relaxing in the bath or at times when you are listening to your MP3. Again you will begin to associate the touch with the physiology of relaxing.
– Isn’t it amazing how looking at an old photo of your wedding or a holiday can immediately bring about feelings and memories? Again you can use this trigger by putting up photos around you of places and times that made you feel really happy and relaxed. Keep these with you so you can use them as a visual trigger to help you relax and refocus. You can even bring in objects like a babygrow as a reminder of what you are working towards.
– this is not such an obvious one but you can still use this sense to help you stay calm and focused. In the lead up to the birth have a glass of a favourite drink. As you take a few sips, close your eyes, breathe deeply and really enjoy the taste in your mouth. Relax your shoulders and being to imagine being somewhere really wonderful, really relaxing. Then take another sip and make the feelings and images even brighter, even stronger. Do this every time you are about practice your hypnosis. The taste will soon become another trigger for relaxation and calm. Then during labour when you have a few sips of the same drink go through the same exercise and the relaxation and calm will automatically follow.
1.Breathing effectively is key – Sounds easy but unless you practice focused breathing, it can be hard to use your breath well on the big day. Practice taking long slow, deep breathes – imagine breathing the air right down to your baby, imagine the air going into and around your baby and then breath out long and slow. Do this at night in bed, in the bath or even on the train or bus – any time when you have a minute of two.
2. Relaxing your muscles – if you are tensing up in any way, the contractions will be more painful – like if you tense up for an injection. Practice noticing any tension in your body then actively relaxing those muscles. Focus on your jaw, your shoulders, your hands and your lower back. Even sitting at your desk notice and tension and then release it.
3. Visualisation – the brain is amazing at diverting your attention. By imagining yourself in a wonderful place – a beach, a garden, on a mountain you are able to distract yourself from what may be going on in your body. An extra bonus is we tend to relax more when visualising so double whammy! Think of some of your favourite places now and write them down so you can refer to them or your partner can on the big day.
4. Movement – gently swaying or rocking can help to ease any tension in the muscles, release lactic acid build up, increase blood flow and make space for a baby to move down. Using a birthing ball in the last few weeks of pregnancy as well as during the birth is really beneficial as you can do all those things in a comfortable, safe, and supported way. This also helps strengthen the muscles in the perineum.
5. Prepare your birth partner – if he is feeling relaxed and confident and knows what you want and how to help you achieve that, then he is going to be one of your best assets. If he is worried, panicky etc he will project that onto you – not great. Go through your plan, practice breathing together calmly, rhythmically so that he can match your breathing, practice lower back massage, tell him your visualisations – all this will give you both more confidence to put them into practice on the big day.
To help with No 1, 2 and 3 we are running a special 3 for 2 offer on all Natal Hypnotherapy MP3s