Mindfulness and hypnosis techniques are there to induce a more relaxed state of being in the lead up and during your birth of your baby. But why? What’s so good about being relaxed in labour? It’s surely the least relaxing thing you can do? It all comes down to the science! And here I go trying to make sense of it in Rachel style!
You have two systems, your parasympathetic and your sympathetic nervous system and they are opposites to one another, highly complex; regulating all those subconscious things that we take for granted like sweating to keep cool or your hair standing up on end to keep warm. These are the secret systems that I believe link our physical body, mind and sole together. It is incredible to me that thoughts and feelings can generate physical responses in the body and vice versa.
On a primal level these systems relate to either your fight and flight response (that’s your sympathetic nervous system – think adrenalin, think Arnold Schwarzenegger) and your parasympathetic system that regulates things like digestion and bowel movements (think Pooh Bear eating honey). When adrenalin gets pumped into your system amazing things happen to your body, blood rushes away from your bodily functions and out into your peripheral muscles so you are poised ready for the fight or flight. Whilst initially adrenalin can help heighten awareness and be useful to you for escaping immediate danger it actually can be quite inhibitory in many ways. In labour, it does some very, very irritating things!
Firstly, to say it can reduce the ability of the cervix to dilate. Secondly, it can inhibit the production and regulation of a hormone called oxytocin. Now oxytocin is the big player here, this hormone is the catalyst and supporter of natural chemicals called endorphins (natural happy chemicals that can produce pain relief in labour) it’s also known as the love hormone and may be responsible for bonding with your baby.
So short answer: adrenalin not so handy – oxytocin super handy!
Stay relaxed and help that hormone stream around the body to give you the best opportunity to have a positive birthing experience! Breathing is a way to tap into our parasympathetic nervous system regulation. Slowing your breathing reduces your breaths per minute and in turn lowers your heart rate. This allows your basic systems to function normally, your muscles to relax and keep your mind calm. Yes, it’s all connected!
So what do you think? Do you feel these articles have convinced you to give it a go? Why not try our Pregnancy Exercise classes or sign up to Ante Natal all Wrapped Up to benefit from our comprehensive ante natal course!