Your mind is the best tool for labor. But just like any tool, you must sharpen it before it goes through extensive use. Pregnancy, and often the third trimester, is a time when it can be helpful to practice your relaxation techniques. These can involve a mix of affirmations, visualizations and relaxation techniques. It is best to practice an abundance of them because you just don’t know which will stick with you best during your labor experience.
During birth, you are going to have a mantra that you repeat often. Sometimes you will repeat this to yourself at the height of each contraction. These utterances will subconsciously either be negative or positive. Prepare positive birth affirmations ahead of time to ready yourself for affirming beliefs during your birth experience.
Some examples include:
“Each contraction produces a healthy, productive sensation that is not stronger than I can handle.”
“I am completely cooperating with my body.”
“I can do it one contraction at a time.”
“My body knows how to have this baby just as my body knew how to grow this baby.”
“Keep breathing slow and even. Inhale peace, exhale tension.”
These are just a few examples of affirmations for birth. There are infinitely more, and everyone can find a few that fit their desired birth and personality. Search the web for lists of birth affirmations. Some women enjoy prepping their birth space with notecards of these statements. It can be a positive reminder leading up to the birth and help to calm you with simple statements throughout.
A visualization is a powerful tool in life for relaxation and birth. Leading up to your labor, you can practice meditations for birth. There are guided meditations on YouTube and other platforms that can walk you through a visualization in a soothing tone. These meditations help you relax your body one step at a time. There are wonderful meditations you can listen to in labor as well. Sometimes, retreating into a pair of headphones to focus on your body getting baby earthside is the best thing you can do during labor.
Examples of visualizations for labor:
Envision each contraction being a wave. With each wave, it builds until it breaks on the shore, then it dissolves. Soon, another wave will begin to form, small at first and building until its peak. Try to ride the wave rather than get crushed by it. Work with your body and its sensations.
Visualize your first family vacation. Where are you? On a beach, with your toes in the sand? Having a beautiful meal along the Italian coast? You are all there as a family and soaked in love and beauty. Focus on that moment of bliss. (This can be a good one for the car ride to distract the mind in a positive way).
Lastly, utilize functional visualization to bring your body and baby into alignment for birth. Visualize your cervix dilating, similar to how a flower blooms. Your baby is coming down and engaging with the birth canal with each exhale. Open your body and bring your baby one breath closer to you.
Whichever the preferred technique, visualization, and affirmations can be used as a powerful tandem tool during labor. Prepare your body and mind with relaxation practice during later stages of pregnancy. Remember, your body is wise and if you continue to quiet your mind it will do its job.