I meet a lot of overdue mothers-to-be wanting to go into labour. I’ve realised the ones who are petrified of being induced generally won’t go into labour naturally unless I’m also able to change their mind set. The ones who are relaxed and calm about their impending birth usually go into labour naturally after our reflexology session. Here’s how:
Our brain is incredibly impressive. Alongside storing and recalling tremendous amounts of information, it continuously communicates with every muscle, tissue and organ in your body; sending and receiving messages day and night. These messages can be particularly important for naturally inducing labour. Our thoughts can radiate throughout our bodies in an unbelievable and often mind blowing way.
Relaxation is a very powerful thing. Being tense or anxious will not induce labour. Your body isn’t programmed to give birth in a stressful situation. Although we’re not still living in the caves being faced by a saber toothed tiger, if you’re stressed or anxious, your natural birth plan will be on hold until you’re in your safe place. You ideally need to be in your safe and happy place for Oxytocin to kick start labour. Its release can be reduced or even stopped if adrenalin is being pumped round your body from being tense or afraid.
It’s easier said than done if you’re desperately trying to avoid an induction in hospital when all you dreamed of is a water birth at home. Trying to relax could really help. Help your body believe its in your safe place by listening to music, having a fun meal with friends, watching a great film, having a soak in the bath, experiencing reflexology, or walking in a beautiful place. Do something that makes you feel carefree.
2) Using Affirmations
Our brain is wired to react to stimuli in the environment. Most people smile when they feel happy and even if you don’t feel happy, the moment you smile your brain recognises and associates this action with happiness. Affirmations are like smiling words: they positively communicate to your brain what you want to happen. These little, positive phrases may be just what you need to naturally induce labour. The key to successful affirmations is to not only hear yourself say them but really believe them. Some even write them as they say them to strengthen their affirmation. A good affirmation depends on clear and powerful words; they should be upbeat but succinct. Try to always be making a positive statement: “something WILL happen” rather than a negative one: “I don’t want that to happen.”
Here are a few examples that could help you talk yourself into labour:
I am a strong, capable woman ready to give birth.
I am ready to give birth.
I am ready to meet my baby.
I can handle a natural labour: bring it on!
I deserve to have the birth I desire.
I accept this labour as my labour.
I am relaxed and prepared for my baby to come to me.
My baby moves gently along in his/her journey.
3) Using Visualisation
Essentially, visualising a situation will imprint a mental image in your brain. Your brain gets the message and then works to make it happen. You can try visualising where you are when your waters break, what the birth room looks like, what your labour feels like, the moment you first see your baby’s face and tiny hands and feet, what you will say to your beautiful baby, what your baby will feel like to hold for the first time etc..
Get comfortable, put on some relaxing music and get creative. Envisage your labour for real.
4) Are you ready?
My due date was a Tuesday. When I started my maternity leave I’d often phone my husband at his work to test the waters if I was going into labour. He never answered any of my calls. I got it in my head I had to have my baby in the evening or at the weekend if he was going to be there too. She was born at 10.45pm the following Saturday night.
I recently had an Irish client who was a week overdue. She talked a lot about wanting to have her baby on St Patricks Day. I mentioned this to her and she hadn’t even realised that she was saying this so much. Sure enough, her baby was born the next day on Paddy’s Day.
Some people may go over their due date, not so much by fear, but by just not being ready or by having something on their mind. I recently met a client who was 5 days overdue and couldn’t imagine giving birth during the day. It seemed utterly inconceivable to her. So every morning she’d wake up thinking, “that window of opportunity has gone,” until the next evening. Her baby was born at 11.30pm after a short labour starting in the evening.
Maybe you didn’t even realise you had a time of day or a day itself on your mind. Go with it and see what happens. Or it may be the nursery isn’t finished, you haven’t got the car fixed, the cot hasn’t been built or you haven’t finished something. Whatever it is, get it done, sit down and relax!
5) The fear
For a first pregnancy, labour and childbirth is the complete unknown. There is nothing you have experienced in the past that is similar. Becoming a mother is amazing but your journey to motherhood can bring about rational and irrational fears. List every single fear (no matter how trivial) and talk it through. Talk about what it is you are afraid of, how it makes you feel, and then talk about what you might do if it happened. Then write each fear down on a piece of paper and burn it.
Admitting your fears and overcoming them, embracing them and then releasing them is more powerful than you can possibly imagine.
Above all: relax, tell yourself you’ll be fine, envision a wonderful birth and embrace what’s on your mind. And have reflexology. It’s great!
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