Practicing relaxation to prepare for labor and birth takes one minute a day. Sorry! Now there are no excuses not to practice relaxation every day!
Practicing relaxation to prepare for labor and birth every day is easy! You need to be able to relax on demand when labor begins and the only way to master that skill is with practicing relaxation exercises to prepare for labor and birth. 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.
PRACTICE FOR 60 SECONDS AT A TIME
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. This is a very soothing relaxation to prepare for labor and you can use this technique during contractions.
2. Smile Meditation
This relaxation practice can be done in any position. Sit, stand or lie down. After reading this, close your eyes. 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’ www.24hoursofhappy.com 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. Progressive Relaxation
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. Practicing relaxation by letting go of tension is one of the keys to relaxing in labor.
4. Music Therapy
“Researchers think that listening to music during labor might change how a person perceives pain by decreasing its unpleasantness. According to something called the Bonapace and Marchand Classification, music acts through the higher centers of the central nervous system (called the CNSC mechanism) to relieve pain. These parts of the brain are closely associated with memory and emotion. It’s thought that listening to music during labor might activate mental processes that make labor sensations more comfortable or less uncomfortable. Researchers also think that music might work by stimulating the pituitary gland inside your brain to release endorphins and increase levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter. Listening to music during labor may also promote pain relief by helping you relax, reducing anxiety, and providing a positive source of distraction during labor.” from Evidence Based Birth
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:
- Realms Of Grace: Music For Healthy Living
- Healing Harmony (Music for Meditation, Relaxation, Yoga, Healing, Sleep & Spa)
5. Slow Dancing.
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.