COVID-19 keeps putting barriers on our birth choices but we still have tools and our own bodies to make the birth experience a positive one.
In times of uncertainty it is more important than ever to make sure you know how your body and mind work and how to use them in your favour.
Learning the hypnobirthing techniques to keep your body and mind calm and relaxed can make a huge impact not only to the birth experience but for pregnancy and after birth.
You can adapt and make from any birthing place (birth centre, labor ward) a safe and private environment for giving birth to your baby.
Listening to your instincts (this is a big one, but underused) your body has been perfectly designed to give birth, like many other functions of your body, you just need to trust it. Your body and your baby know how to do this!
Focus on the things that you can control and let go of the ones you can't
Transform the hospital room (birth centre/labour ward) into your safe place by making little adjustments.
Dim the lights
Play relaxing Music
Play relaxation scripts
Bring an eye mask
Use essential oils
Bring your pillow and a blanket from home
Put up affirmations
Limit the number of people in the room
Keep conversation to a minimum
Stay at home for as long as possible in early labour. Relax, watch a film, have a bath, take a nap, anything that makes you feel good and avoid over expending energy, you’ll need it for later.
When we feel good we release oxytocin, the hormone of love that is indispensable for labor.
Feeling good will help you not only to stay calm and relaxed but it will reduce the chance of interventions as labour is more likely to go smoothly.
Water: This an amazing and very accessible comfort measure. A birth pool, a warm bath or even a shower can help you relax in labour.
Eye mask and ear plugs/headphones: Instant tickets to relaxation. Stay away from your surroundings and focus on your inner-self, connect with your sensations and listen to your instincts. Good for the trip to hospital too.
Essential oils: An electric burner or few drops on your wrists can transform an hospital room into a spa.
Hypnobirthing: Guided relaxation, visualisation and breathing techniques are the ultimate tools for a calm labour and birth.
Stay active: Dancing, walking, rocking, listen to your body and find your comfort.
Massage: If you have a birth partner, they can massage you, hug you, kiss you or simply touch you. Loved one's contact will make you feel good, therefore produce oxytocin.
Making your own decisions
Even in times of COVID-19, when many things seem to be out of your control, there are plenty of decisions to be made when it comes to your birth experience.
In Hypnobirthing we us B.R.A.I.N to make informed choices. This is how it works:
Benefits- what are the benefits of accepting this and what are the benefits of declining?
Risks- what are the risks of accepting this and what are the risks of declining?
Alternatives- What else could we try?
Instinct- What do you feel about it?
Nothing- What if we do nothing? what if we wait?
What do I do if my birth partner can’t stay with me in hospital?
This is one of the biggest concerns now a moment for most expecting women.
Just to reassure you I want to remind you that not long ago, probably in the case of your mum or your grandma, we were giving birth without birth partners.
Our bodies are designed to give birth the same way as they are designed to digest food or pump blood, giving birth like many functions of our bodies just happens, there’s nothing you have to do apart from let it be.
You can do this, with or without your partner!
Tips for if your birth partner is not allowed with you in labor
-Labor at home as long as possible, the longer you’re at home the less time you’ll have to spend in hospital.
-Bring a shirt or your partner’s pillow with you, their smell is going to give you reassurance.
-Video calls with your partner.
- Ask them to record some relaxation scripts on your phone so you can use them when you need to hear their voice
-Use anchors to trigger relaxation.
Anchors, such as pinching fingers.
They are instant triggers to relaxation.
Find a quiet, warm place, seated or lying down (your choice), now pinch your thumb and index finger together, while doing this breath slowly and deeply, inflating your stomach in each in-breath.
Keep doing all the above and picture yourself in a place that makes you feel good, it could be a past holiday, your childhood home, or a place that you invented.
Go to that place in your mind, keep pinching your fingers and breathing slowly, how does it feel to be there? How does it smell? what do you hear?
Make it as real as possible, repeat it every day, get into that place with all your senses.
When you’re in labour you can use this anchor to travel to that place of peace and comfort just by pinching your fingers.
There are so many things we can do to turn any birth experience into a positive one. My courses will support you however and wherever you give birth.
Your body, Your birth, Your choice