Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Simple Relaxation Techniques for Pregnancy and Labour by Zena

Pregnancies can be many things.  Some people bloom and enjoy the whole journey right up until an effortless delivery.  Some people suffer every pregnancy related symptom known to woman kind whilst riding the turbulent emotional roller coaster of the hormone train followed by a difficult delivery.  Most women experience something in between.  No matter what kind of pregnancy or labour you have using simple relaxation techniques can be really beneficial for you and baby.

Using some simple techniques can help you reduce your stress levels during pregnancy, promote a sense of well being for you and baby, encourage better sleep and help you prepare for a relaxing labour.  Yes, really!

Can labour be relaxed?  It can definitely be less stressful with a few simple techniques.  The more relaxed you can be the better!  If you become stressed during labour you start to waste precious energy needed to birth your baby.  Stress, and the hormones you release when your stressed can interfere with how well you labour goes.  Stress hormones interfere with the labour hormone, oxytoxin that help our bodies to deliver babies effectively. 

I have found that using some simple relaxation techniques for all three of my pregnancies has been hugely beneficial.  There are many techniques available these days that promote relaxation during pregnancy like Yoga and Hypnobirthing for example.  Joining classes and learning these techniques can be hugely beneficial, but if you can't access these for any reason there are other things you can do that can be just as effective.

Simple Breathing Techniques:

Focusing on your breathing is something you can do anywhere. You can use it at home, walking down the street if your feeling uncomfortable, or before bed.  You can even use it at your desk after that bad phone call.

Just start by focusing on your breath, and slow it down.  Deep breathing plays a huge part in many relaxation techniques.  You can use counting if this helps.   Breathe in for a count of 4, pause, breath out to the count of 3, pause and repeat.  Even for a short while this can be beneficial.

Visualising a square can also be helpful.  As you breathe imagine you're going round the sides of the square. Breathe in from the top right corner to the top left corner, pause from top left down the side to bottom left corner.  Breathe across the bottom from corner to corner, and pause along the side back to the top right corner, and repeat this as long as necessary.  Focusing your mind on the visualisation of the square and breathing can really help you release stress and become more relaxed.

If you find yourself feeling particularly tense, it can help to add words to your breathing.  As you inhale, say 'breathe in calm', as you exhale say 'breathe out tension' focusing on the muscle area effected i.e. the shoulders.  The tension will start to release with each round of breathing helping you feel more relaxed.
Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is well known for its relaxation qualities.  It can be used neat on the skin so can be applied directly to the pulse points.  A few drops can be added directly to the bath for a relaxing aroma.  It can also be added to a few simple ingredients to make some home made bath salts. A couple of tablespoons of sea salt, a few drops of lavender oil and a teaspoon of olive oil is all you need for a relaxing home made treat for any bath during pregnancy or just when you need a bit of pampering, perhaps after baby has arrived.

Guided Mediation or Relaxation

Thanks to the wonderful world of the internet, You Tube and iTunes there are loads of free recordings out there to help you practise relaxation techniques for pregnancy and labour.  A little bit of searching can build you up a good library of relaxation videos and podcasts.  Here's a few to get you started.

As well as the above techniques, try to rest and sleep well during pregnancy, making a little person is hard work and it's important to listen to your body .  A healthy diet and gentle exercise will be hugely beneficial for you and baby during pregnancy and can also reduce stress and promote positive relaxation. 

Do you have any relaxation techniques that would help a Mum to be during pregnancy or labour?  What worked for you?

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