5 Top Tips for a Positive Birth
I have to admit, I didn’t enjoy pregnancy all that much. My mum got diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer on the day I found out I was pregnant. What was meant to be a happy and joyful time for me, my partner and my family ended up being tinged with sadness.
By the time I was 7.5 months pregnant, I was feeling highly anxious. I wasn’t sleeping well, I was getting more and more upset about my mum’s rapid decline in health and my due date was getting closer and closer. The thought of giving birth was daunting and I didn’t feel prepared for it at all.
I was introduced to hypnobirthing around that time and despite my initial reluctance to enrol in a course, I was encouraged to give it a try. After all, what could I lose other than a bit of my time and money?
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that hypnobirthing wasn’t all the things I imagined it would be. It wasn’t for hippies, it wasn’t just for women wanting home births and there was no pendulum swinging involved. What I discovered was a very logical and science based antenatal education method that helped me overcome my childbirth fears, understand how to relax and work with my body in labour and how my partner could fully support me in childbirth and be fully involved in the process.
I took all the hypnobirthing tools and techniques I had learned into my labour and I had a very calm and empowering birth experience. My daughter was born peacefully in a birth pool 24 hours after I felt my first contraction. The birth I had would not have been possible had I not enrolled in a hypnobirthing course. The knowledge I gained was priceless.
I was so inspired by my birth experience that I became a hypnobirthing teacher in 2016 and I am now fortunate to teach pregnant women and their partners locally, nationally and internationally through my in-person and online hypnobirthing courses.
Every birth experience can be POSITIVE, no matter where or how your baby enters the world, and in this blog post I am going to share with you my 5 top tips for a positive birth so let’s get started:
- Dim the lights
We are genetically designed to give birth more comfortably under the cover of darkness where we feel unobserved and undisturbed. If you have ever had a pet cat or dog who has given birth, you will know that they find a dark and quiet place in the house or garden to welcome their kittens or puppies. By birthing in a dark room, you release melatonin which triggers feelings of relaxation and restfulness in your body. The more relaxed you are in labour, the more efficient your contractions will be and the more easily you will deal with any pain or discomfort.
- Focus on your breathing
We breathe without thinking most of the time because it’s an automatic, physiological process. However, we breathe shallowly a lot and, in labour, women will often be seen gasping for breath or breathing too quickly. The key to a positive birth is to do slow, deep breathing during contractions. This helps you to stay calm, boosts oxygen and blood flow to your uterus and your baby and helps you to deal with your contractions as they get longer, more frequent and more intense. Please check out my Youtube channel, Hypnobirthing With Anja, I have uploaded some videos teaching you exactly how to breathe in labour.
- Fuel your body
You can burn 1000s of calories in labour and get dehydrated fast. It’s so important to eat little and often and to drink regularly. I didn’t want to eat in labour but I knew that it was essential to avoid burnout and lower my risk of needing medical interventions. Labour is hard work and physically demanding. You could compare it to running a marathon! Your body needs energy to dilate your cervix and push your baby out so remember to fuel your body! On my Youtube channel there is a video about the best snacks to eat in labour so check it out!
- Use warm water
Immersing yourself in a bathtub or birth pool filled with warm water can be very soothing and relaxing in labour. Warm water is comforting and great for reducing pain. If you can’t get into a bathtub or birth pool, get under a shower or use 2 hot water bottles- one in between your thighs and one on your lower back. If none of these options are accessible to you, use some heat pads to warm and alleviate any achy areas of your body in labour.
- Work with gravity
Getting into gravity friendly positions in childbirth is so important. Positions like sitting back to front on a dining room chair, being on all fours, kneeling over the side of a bed, sofa, birth ball, birth pool, squatting, standing and leaning over your partner, help your cervix to dilate more effectively and allow your baby to move down your birth canal more easily. If you must lie down because your legs are tired, please do so on your left-hand side, propped up with pillows. However, try to avoid doing this for more than 20 minutes at a time as it can slow labour down. Gravity is your best friend in labour so get into gravity friendly whenever possible. If you can, avoid giving birth on your back as it can make pushing more challenging and increase your risk of tearing.
Wishing you a positive birth! Love, Anja x