The Power of Pregnancy Relaxation: 4 Benefits to Enhance Your Pregnancy Journey and 7 Tips to Practice with Ease
Updated: Dec 19, 2023
Being as relaxed as possible benefits your birth experience, no matter how or where it happens, be that at home, hospital or theatre e.g. caesarean or instrumental. During this blog I tell you many benefits of relaxation to you, your baby your birth and beyond, tips for practicing relaxation and building good practice habits and you can access a FREE relaxation MP3 to get you started.
A 2022 systemic review published in the BMC Pregnancy and Childcare Journal, highlighted the benefits of practicing "skilled breathing and relaxation techniques" during pregnancy. Stating it "may positively influence self-efficacy (self-belief), the need for pharmacological support, specifically the use of epidural anaesthesia, and the memory of labour pain.”
I talk about all the science behind why relaxation is important during birth during my
How can relaxation help me in pregnancy and birth?
Relaxation helps you birth your baby:
It sounds like a bold statement but it's true and it all comes down to science. Relaxation calms your body's nervous system helping you stay in your parasympathetic nervous system, the nervous system needed for your birth hormones, oxytocin and pain killing beta-endorphins, to flow. Oxytocin works your uterus (womb) muscles effectively and efficiently to contract (surge) to birth your baby. The more relaxed you are the more oxytocin you have.
Relaxation reduces perception of pain:
People who are relaxed are less likely to rate levels of pain as high – as pain receptors are less sensitive (I’m not saying you won’t feel 'pain', but it may feel less intense.)
Relaxation benefits your baby and your sleep:
Practicing relaxation reduces the stress hormone, cortisol, in your blood, benefiting you and your baby as they receive less stress hormones via the placenta. Relaxation also lowers your blood pressure, helps you focus on and build your connection with baby and can even improve sleep (and who doesn't love better sleep?!)
Relaxation aids post-natal healing:
A stressed body takes longer to heal. Practicing relaxation during pregnancy and beyond can help you feel calmer postnatally, benefiting your birth recovery.
Now that you know the benefits of relaxation, please enjoy this FREE relaxation MP3
Want to build a practical relaxation tool kit for birth?
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Tips for practicing relaxation in pregnancy:
Relaxation is a skill developed through practice. There's no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ or being 'good' or 'bad' at it. Listening to your Hypnobirthing MP3's helps build positive anchors in your brain, so the more you do it the better.
Here are some practice tips to get you started...
Instead of "finding time", commit to yourself to MAKE time, you could listen to your audio on a walk, in the bath or in bed before you go to sleep. Wherever feels best for you (just not while driving) If practicing before bed you might find you don't "make it to the end" before falling asleep and thats ok, the messages are still going into your brain.
Make it a habit:
Try to do it at the same time each day that works for you and build it into your routine. Before long your practice will be second nature.
Set the scene:
Finding somewhere comfortable with minimal disruptions in a position that is comfortable to you. Think about positively impacting all all your senses. Smell is a very powerful sense for relaxation and lavender scent is known to aid relaxation. You could turn the lights down, or close your eyes.
Focus on your breath:
It’s ok to have thoughts enter your mind, you can acknowledge them and gently bring your focus back to your breath; breathe in, breathe out. The MP3 sounds are going into your brain regardless of whether you are actively 'listening'. This is why falling asleep listening to your audio can be a positive.
Do it together:
You might choose to listen by yourself but you can also listen to your relaxation audios together with your birth partner. They can help your your partner feel calmer during birth too.
Listen on a speaker:
At around 27 weeks your baby can hear noises outside the womb. Some people have said they played the relaxations during pregnancy, and then used them to calm their crying baby after they are born.
Reframe it; relaxation is a gift:
Instead of viewing relaxation practice as a chore, remember the MANY benefits of relaxation and see it as a gift you are giving to yourself and your baby.
Even when we know the benefits of doing something it can still feel tricky building it into our routines. Be kind to yourself, you're doing a good job and enjoy this gift to yourself.
I help expectant parents get informed and feel confident, relaxed and empowered for birth.