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Active relaxation for a natural birth

Are you hoping to have a natural, drug-free labour? After attending over 40 births, I have realized that there are a few key ingredients that can help you cope with the sensations of labour and move through birth without pain medications.

The biggest, most important skill to develop to help you ride the waves of contractions is active relaxation. The ability to stay focused and calm while experiencing a very strong sensation, that you naturally want to tense against, can change your experience of labour. During strong sensation in the body, it is common to want to brace yourself against it, take shallow breaths and clench up.

When I coach a women through her contractions, I am often suggesting that she try to relax her shoulders, her arms, her legs. One body part at a time. I softly breath slow and deep alongside her so that she is reminded of the power of focus and breath. When we let go, and allow our body to surrender to the force of labour, we are also allowing our birth canal to open up.

Imagine this: sitting on the toilet and having a bowel movement and as you are about to pass your stool, someone walks into the room and you immediately tense up. What happens? You clench your bowels and your stool is not going anywhere! The cervix is a muscle and responses similarly to bodily tension. Even though your uterus may be contracting, if you are clenching up and bracing yourself, your cervix may not dilate as quickly as we would like. This could lead to a longer labour, exhaustion and higher chances of wanting pain medication.

Let me know if you have questions: email me!

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