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Practicing relaxation every day is easy! You need to be able to relax on demand when labor begins. Since contractions last an average of 60 seconds. Practicing for 60 seconds at a time just might be the simple answer to getting that daily practice in.



1. Centering breath: inhale to a count of 4. Exhale to a count of 8. Create your own pace. Just make sure your exhale is twice as long as your inhale. To do this for one minute, you’ll need to repeat this breath cycle seven breaths. Then just sit and notice how you feel for a moment. Exhaling twice as long as your inhale stimulates your relaxation response in your body.
2. Sit, stand or lie down. Without changing your facial expression, begin to imagine the emotional feeling you get when you smile. You might need to think about someone or something that has made you smile in the past. But, if you need a little inspiration, I just love Pharell Williams’ It’s hard not to smile. So watch it or listen to the music and then sit when it’s over and let that feeling grow.
3. Head to toe. Stand and rest your hands either on a desk, table, or counter, or let them dangle heavily at your side. Relying on your own concentration begin to release tension from the top of the head, cheeks, jaw, neck shoulders etc. It’s up to you to bring your focus to these parts of your body one at a time and deliberately picture the muscle letting go of tension while you breathe in and out.
4. Listen to some music that you plan to use in labor. You can listen to this music while you are doing all of your different relaxation exercises. Your body will respond by relaxing when this music comes on. Here are some suggestions:

5. Standing with your feet a little bit wider than hip distance apart, begin to slow dance in place to some music or without music. This swaying motion is very relaxing. You can do it on your own, or you can embrace your lover. You will find this to be very calming and is an ideal rhythmic movement to use in labor.

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