Just Relax?

Most approaches to birth preparation emphasize “relaxation” and being able to “relax” during contractions. Some people have noted that the word “relax” isn’t very descriptive to women in labor–or, it can irritate them (“Just relax?!”) while at the same time not really giving them anything specific  to work with. I recently finished a really incredible book called Birthwork (more about this will follow in several more posts!) and it addresses this topic as follows:

…it can be disconcerting for a mother to be told to ‘just let go and relax’ during labour without some practical guidance on how to  do this or without first acknowledging how tough it is, or how stuck or frustrated the mother may feel. Perhaps a more helpful response might be:

–‘Let’s find a way to open more.’

–‘How can I help you to let go?’

–‘Try softening here.’

–‘Sometimes this works really well. Would you like to try it?’

I particularly like the “soften here” idea. It reminds me of something else I read in The Pink Kit, which was about “directed breathing.” The idea with directed breathing is that you can direct your breath into any specific area of your body–when helping a woman in labor, you might put your hand on her lower back and ask her to “breathe into my hand.” When you practice this at home, it is fascinating to me how you actually have a sensation of “breathing” in your back, or thigh, or shoulder, or wherever–sort of a subtle feeling of expansion.

One thought on “Just Relax?

  1. In Hypnobabies we practice relaxing to the verbal cue relaxed paired with a physical touch. Their is a post-hypnotic cue with both the verbal and touch in their scripts the moms listen to.

    We also practice breathing their naturally made anesthesia/endorphins with another post hypnotic cue of peace teamed with their breathing.

    Your posts are making me want to get this Pink Kit and check it out!

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