So you’ve planned a beautiful space to start your labour at home when birth starts, perhaps candles, low lights, aromatherapy or a warm bath alongside relaxing music or your hypnobirthing audios 😉 to help you relax. That’s a perfect way to get the oxytocin flowing but what happens when it’s time to call the midwife and let them know you’re coming in to the birth centre or labour ward or possibly transfer into hospital into hospital if you were planning a home birth? It’s important to consider and prepare to support your birth process for every space in birth, including the inbetween spaces where birth is still happening.
Where ever you birth Tranquil Birth is about you feeling calm and connected; having a better emotional experience of birth, buffering the changes that happen in the body when we leave the familiarity and safety of our home during birth. It’s a known phenomena that women feel like their early labour is progressing well at home to then arrive at hospital and find that things slow down or they are now less dilated than they felt they were. This is the natural mind / body response to being out of our birth space; something all birthing mammals need to allow birth to progress as smoothly as possibly. It’s also why midwives also tell you to stay home for as long as possible, it’s not they don’t want to see you but they know the comfort of home helps your birth process!
So here are my top tips of keeping the oxytocin flowing (which supports your birth in every birth space) and staying in a emotionally safe space as you move through birthing spaces:
Take your music / hypnobirthing audios or relaxations with you by wearing headphones or earphones
This is actually so important, as we need to stay in our bubble as much as possible. When we step out of our door we are surrounded by noise, strangers and lots of new experiences, which all impact on our sense of birth safety. We never see a cat in the midst of birth wandering out do we? yet it’s fine to want to birth where feels best, we just want to buffer the impact of the changes so pop your audios and keep the audio experience one of relaxation. If you’re using Hypnobirthing tracks remember it’s important that you’d don’t play them out loud in a car as the driver will be able to hear and go into that state too!
You can also use this tool in a busy triage space or if you’re on a ward for any period of time.
If you’d like to listen to a free Tranquil Birth hypnobirthing pregnancy relaxation audio you can download yours by clicking here
Keep the lights low – dim lights is an easy way to help oxytocin flow
Ever notice how you on a winters evening when it’s cold and dark you just want to get home after work and snuggle on the sofa in your comfiest clothes and relax, yet in the summer the feeling of being out with a drink by the river after work seems so enlivening? Well that’s a response your mind and body have to the environmental around you and specifically how much light there is.
We know the majority of women start their birth is the night and anthropologically it’s believed that this is because it would have been the stillest and safest time. Our bodies still respond to the same external triggers so we can use that to our advantage when actively preparing for labour.
Low lighting can support your birth process, that’s why many birth centres etc having lovely low lighting and if you’re in a labour ward reducing brightness or pulling down blinds can help make the environment supportive for birth but what about when you’re in a car or ambulance or moving through brighly-lit hospital spaces? My top tip as a hypnobirthing teacher is sunglasses! Yes they sounds a little diva but for increased sense of self-esteem go for a pair that make you feel good and instantly they reduce the light. You can also reduce the sensory input further with a hat or head scarf.
If you feel a bit silly, don’t worry we aren’t used to putting our experience first but let me assure you, you matter and as birth is something you may only do a few times in your life supporting yourself as much as possible is totally acceptable and you won’t have to see most those people again after your birth anyway!
The familiar smell of home, it’s oh so comforting…
You probably don’t even recognise the smell of your own home it’s so familiar to you and that familiarity is part of what we want to keep where ever we are in birth; a sense of safety and comfort.
So take something from home that you can keep with you, a pillow or cushion or blanket (lovely for your baby to be wrapped in too), it serves a double purpose. First it can help you get more comfy in a car or waiting area plus whenever you smell it it will transport you to home through your nasal senses.
You can enhance this with aromatherapy, pop some drops of essential oil (lavender and rose are relaxing, while lemon is energising and clary sage is said to get the uterine muscles moving) on a tissue or hanky and keep it with you, inhaling a sense of pleasure and relaxation where ever you are.
Allow your mind to drift to safe places with visualisations and pictures
My final tip is to use images, photos or affirmations are great that you can print out and pop on your dashboard or play on your phone or iPad. Something that reminds you of a happy time, place or event or words that encourage you and boost those amazing inner resources that you already have.
What tools and techniques have you used to help you transition during birth? Leave a comment below or come and share on our Youtube channel where you can watch videos of this tip, plus many more shared by me, Sakina Ballard founder of Tranquil Birth and many others.