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5 Things your body needs for birth

What are the most important things your body needs for birth in order for labour to progress as efficiently and as effectively as possible?

And how can you make sure you have them?

Birth is a matter of basic physiology, it is something that your body does as naturally as eating or drinking, but that does not mean you cannot influence your birth experience. Can you imagine trying to digest a heavy meal whilst swimming - it would not be comfortable. In just the same way, there are ways to make your birth experience more comfortable, just by meeting your bodies needs.

1. Oxygen.

Probably the most obvious - we need to flood our body and especially our uterus with oxygen. So how do we do this? Breathing. Not holding our breath or panting, but breathing deeply. Knowing how to breathe during labour is vital, but it’s not that easy, it takes time and practice for the hypnobirthing breathing technique to become second nature. Practising hypnobirthing breathing techniques throughout pregnancy is so beneficial.

Birth Partner Role - Having a partner who has learned the breathing techniques with you can really be supportive. The can hold your hands and coach you through contractions if they have also been on a course.

2. Blood

Again, another that is obvious and you may not thing you have control over. But actually you do. And you can give your uterus more blood, high in oxygen, by remaining as relaxed and as calm as possible. When you start to become stressed during labour, your body releases adrenaline - this sends your body into a fight or flight state. You don't need someone to jump our and frighten you, just the stress of a perceived threat can cause this response in your body. When that happens, our body sends all the blood to our vital organs and muscles, necessary for our survival. So all the lovely oxygenated blood moves to your biceps and triceps, and quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves... but not your uterus. Because in a flight or fight scenario - that is not going to help you in that moment. In fact giving birth could be pretty dangerous - so the adrenaline stalls your labour until it perceives it is safer. This can cause pain, tension and cramping.

By remaining relaxed, your body can birth your baby as effectively and as comfortably as possible. Listening to your hypnobirthing MP3's will also help with this.

Birth Partner Role - By creating anchors for relaxation during hypnobirthing, your birth partner will be able to support you in returning to a place of deep relaxation when you find yourself becoming tense. They know you best so they are best placed to help you relax.

3. Oxytocin

This crucial hormone is responsible for starting of your labour and keeping contractions going right up until you meet your baby. Without oxytocin we have what is called 'failure to progress.' Around this time the midwives start suggesting synthetic oxytocin to speed your labour up by using a drip of Syntocinon.

So how can you ensure your body has plenty of Oxytocin for your labour? This hormone is also called the 'love' hormone. Another time when our body is flooded with it is during sex and orgasm. So think about the environment you would need for that - you would want to feel safe. To feel like you are somewhere private and unobserved. You would want to be undisturbed.