Alternative birthing methods like meditation, otherwise known as Hypnobirth, can be one way for women to feel like they are taking control of their labour. And you can practise it at home at the first signs of labour, during a hospital birth, a home birth, or wherever the baby decides it is time. Hypnobirth doesn’t dismiss extra help you might need to get the baby out safe and sound, but it’s an effective helping hand to focus your mind and body for labour or even trouble sleeping when the baby comes.
Meditation can help to create a peaceful and comfortable childbirth experience by calming nerves and reducing stress in preparation for delivery. By training the subconscious to create the natural relaxed states needed for a positive birth experience, hypnotic meditative techniques increase the natural production of beta-endorphins, serotonin and oxytocin. The release of these natural chemicals reduce stress, lower blood pressure and reduce discomfort naturally. What’s not to love?
By doing one-on-one sessions with a Hypnotherapist or listening to a Hypnobirth CD as you fall asleep each night, you can quickly learn how to put yourself in this meditative state and once learnt, it is easily applied to whatever situation you are in. The process can be practised at home, where mum and birthing partner can become ‘experts’ at their own rate. Some birthing partners take on the role of using triggers such as touch or key phrases to remind mum of the process. The meditation can be started at any time and can help relieve discomforts, nausea and sickness during pregnancy.
So how does it work?
Our bodies possess a brainwave patterning that denotes the amount of activity we are experiencing. In the normal thinking, sometimes stressful state, we are in beta. If we relax and meditate, we are in alpha. In this state we are at our creative best and experience calm control. During the state of deep relaxation, we go into theta, where we dream and our imaginations can be vivid. Deep sleep shows the pattern as delta where not much happens.
We mostly go through beta and alpha during the day and down to delta during the night. If we don’t get enough calm or peace through the day by experiencing alpha it becomes hard to rest fully at night. When this happens we wake up feeling un-rested and cluttered with old stress. Stress can sit about in our bodies and mind causing aches, pains and stress related illnesses. Over time, this becomes habitual and damaging to health. If there has been a previous stressful birth there may be left over tensions, but these can be reduced by learning to relax fully before labour begins.
Using meditative techniques regularly helps to reset a ‘normal’ while boosting our immune system. The more relaxed we are, the more comfortable we are, while having a baby as well as generally. There are also benefits for the baby too, as they react to their environment and the stress of mum. If mum is anxious, it causes muscles to tighten, which creates pain; however, in a calm state the muscles can do what they are meant to do – contract and relax in a harmonic rhythm to gently and comfortably ease the baby out.
Meditation during childbirth is so popular right now, as more people begin to realise how simple it is to learn the techniques, which can then be transferred and used in any situation. It sets off a natural cycle and when babies and children are massaged, spoken to softly, or read to, they are in a gentle meditation state. Pure bliss.