I recently got talking to the lovely Kirsten, Hypnobirthing specialist from Bumps & Beginnings. I asked her to share her top tips for staying calm during your pregnancy. These are great tips for any point in your pregnancy and will help keep you nice and calm in readiness for the ‘birth-day’.
It doesn't matter what type of birth you plan to have, you can use these Hypnobirthing tips at any point to remove stress, fear and ultimately make you feel much calmer about your pregnancy and upcoming birth. Here are Kirsten's top 5 tips...
Tip One: Start at the top - your mind!
Start by working on feeding that mindset all the positive affirmations that surround birth. You can find these online or buy your own set of birth affirmation cards.
“My body knows exactly what to do'' - these birth affirmations feed into the subconscious thoughts that surround labour and birth. Thoughts that we don't even know they are there.
Unfortunately, due to the nature of our media, and horror stories we’ve heard over the years our bodies have consciously been conditioned to fear birth by the dramatic nature that TV dramas have been edited (for example 'One Born Every Minute!').
So a lot of the ‘keeping calm’ during pregnancy comes from rewiring our thought process. When you feel thoughts like, ‘it’s going to hurt so much’ try to re-frame with ‘it might be intense, and painful, but it’s absolutely nothing I cannot deal with’.
Surprisingly enough birth is actually more of a mental thing rather than a physical thing. Still all the way through our labour we have to believe that it's possible, we can and we will give birth. No matter how you decide to give birth, working on your mindset will help you feel calmer during pregnancy and more empowered during labour.
Another thing that can help you is reading plenty of positive birth stories (of all different types) - you can find them very easily on podcasts, youtube and websites. Another one of the techniques that can help you feel super relaxed is listening to a self hypnosis audio. These work on just taking you to that sleepy space in your mind (totally relaxed!) nothing to do with hypnosis, but again helps remove that fear from the subconscious thoughts. I have a fair few of these, so feel free to email me if you want to try listening to one.
Tip Two: Breathing
A calm breathing technique enables you to completely relax. It may surprise you that once we master this technique we are likely to have all these benefits:
This technique can be used during labour, pregnancy and actually just in everyday life! I often used it when I felt sleep deprived, and getting the buggy out of the car with a crying baby - it felt really hard some days!
If you fancy giving this one a try, I’ve created a 10 minute simple tutorial on my website.
Tip three: Talk to your birth partner
Having that support network is going to be absolutely key in helping you address any potential stresses before you even give birth. These don’t have to be formal conversations, can you go for lunch? Go for a walk together? Be open with how you feel so that any niggles can be free from your mind. Once we’ve removed those niggles, labour is actually more likely to progress, start and move in the direction we want.
During my hypnobirthing courses we look at specific frameworks in order to support your birth partner so they know how to advocate for you during your birth and pregnancy. Once your birth partner is equipped with all the knowledge you’ll be able to feel much calmer, and again those fears of the birth partner being sat on the sideline like a lemon can be pushed to one side as they know how/what you want.
Also, I also always suggest to my clients, pack the hospital bag together so they know where everything is (another stress removed)!
Tip four: Make a plan for 40 weeks or more…
Unfortunately, there is not really such a thing as a ‘due date’ or a time when we know the baby will arrive (unless you are having a planned caesarean birth or induction) so consider making a plan for what you will do during this time. If you can remove any stresses away from the ‘40 week’ time period (for example lots of texts or calls about ‘is baby here yet!) this will also help you relax and enjoy those last few weeks or days with your bump.
Little walks, time together, cinema trips, lunch dates, or just making your favourite meals together. These things ultimately help you feel calmer, happier and realise the hormones that we want to kick start labour.
Tip five: Movement
We all know exercise is a strong form of calmness for our mental health. In fact, one doula in America works solely on training women for birth by using physical exercise. The midwives would attend her births knowing that they were always half the time of other births! She works on using an interval training method (a bit like a contraction) a period of work, followed by a period of rest. She encourages squatting, and allowing you to train for your birth.
Now, this is not me suggesting that you suddenly join the gym if you haven't exercised much before, but keeping active will also help move the baby into that optimal position, but fundamentally keep you really calm because you’ve got that body moving and helped removed any stress.
Thank you Kirsten for your top tips! Please add in the comments any tips you have for relaxing during pregnancy.
If you feel you want that gentle nudge in the right direction with HOW to relax, join Kirsten on Wednesday evenings at 7.30pm online, where she teaches pregnancy relaxation to all her mummies to be. And if you enjoyed reading the blog, she also runs group and 1:1 Hypnobirthing courses from a cosy home in Winkfield. Prices, course content and more info can be found at www.bumpsandbeginnings.com. You can also email Kirsten on [email protected] and find her on Instagram.