Practising on your own or together with your birth partner(s) once or twice a week during pregnancy can help you learn to associate the people and things around you with a state of deep relaxation and positivity about birth. Birth partners can also gain in confidence and become familiarised with their role on the day. See this as a rehearsal for the real thing. The more you rehearse, especially with your 'scene' set out around you, the more confident you will feel (don't forget your birth partner checklist)
As mammals, we need a safe, comfortable 'nest' to birth well. Gather whatever you will use during the birth. These will all act as hypnotic triggers, e.g:
- Play your affirmations or practice contractions track(s)
- Use your essential oils
- Special cushions / pillows / blankets / mat
- Grab your birth ball
- Practise in the bath
- Particular drinks or snacks
Try out different positions to see which are most comfortable. Imagine having contractions / surges in each position.
Practice your breathing and going into hypnosis...
Practice taking yourself quickly down into a hypnotic state for each 'surge', where your mind focuses inward and your body is released whilst you breathe deeply. Challenge yourself and see how heavy and floppy you can get. If someone picked up your arm during an imagined 'surge' it should be heavy - as if you are asleep. Consider what sounds you might make, and the other breathing techniques too.
Visualisations and words...
Experiment with some visualisations or try meditating on some affirmations. Tell your birth partner (if you're not already listening to me on an audio in the background) if there are any particular affirmations or prompts you'd like them to say at the beginning of each contraction, e.g. "relax, release, open" or "3, 2, 1, release".
"Having Josh hold and support me helped me focus. He was like an anchor -- something to hang on to and hold me together"
Photo credit: Photo Art By Jessica from '35 raw birth photos of Dads' Huffington series
Try out different holds / touch:
- Firm shoulder touch for during contractions (hands pressing firmly down on each shoulder)
- Light touch for in between contractions (a barely there, slow finger-tip stroking touch)
- Firm pressure on the lower back during contractions
- Any other preferred touch