Words by Christy
As a hypnobirthing teacher, I always say to the Ladies in my class, I’d love to hear how your birth goes and to please keep in touch after the course. I have noticed there is one reason I’m guaranteed get a phone call before the baby arrives and that’s when they’re over the dates (40 weeks or more) and they feel under immense pressure from their medical providers to have an induction AND under pressure from friends and family to hear that all important announcement! Induction is a choice that is yours to make based on the medical advice being given and your personal circumstances, remember you can always discuss your choices with your midwife or consultant. If however, labour needs to get underway, naturally or assisted, here are my top tips for encouraging baby to make an appearance before the ‘deadline’ for intervention as it were.
1) Turn down all the unnecessary stress. Feeling relaxed, calm and safe is the key to encouraging labour to start. If you’re stressed you’re body has higher levels of adrenaline and cortisol hormones running through your body and they are the hormones that kick in when you’re frightened, hungry, cold – they’re the survival hormones responsible for your flight or fight response. So if you’re stressed, your body literally reads the hormones as ‘NOT SAFE TO GIVE BIRTH RIGHT NOW’ and labour is highly unlikely to begin under these conditions! The best thing you can do to relax, is switch off, unplug and unwind. I mean literally! Turn off the phone, the news, the ipad (all ready to present stressful bad news) and light some candles. Have a bath, cook a nice meal or go for a gentle walk – whatever it is that helps you to relax, now is the time to do that as much as possible! Also look at the areas of your life that are particular stressors and think about what you can do to reduce how you feel about that situation at least in the short term.
2) Quieten the Pester Power – it doesn’t help! The pressure from friends and family on your due date onwards through social media and by phone can be very surprising. No one thinks they’re actually going to get pestered by family ‘Is the baby here yet?’ as if you might forget to announce your new baby’s arrival! So when it happens (and it does) it can be a shock how persistent they can be! Perhaps a group message or a social media post to say you’re not responding to messages right now but you promise they will be updated when baby arrives. This can buy you a bit of peace in those last days/weeks.
3) Book yourself in for some Reflexology/Acupressure. Both work with pressure points on the body to release the energy flow around the body. They are both believed to be safe and surprisingly effective for stimulating labour.
4) Nest. This is one that is usually an unconscious reaction to getting close to birth – the need to clean, rearrange, re-carpet the spare room, paint the whole house. It’s a process, of getting your life in order ready for the next stage and physically, making your space ready (and SAFE) for your new baby. Of course, if you happen to be spending some time on the antenatal ward prior your baby’s birth, then you need to get innovative in making the space yours and helping you feel secure. It could simply be your favourite shawl/pillow or your partner’s jumper, something that you can wrap yourself in that smells like home. Making that space yours is also a process in feeling safe.
5) The fear is the worst part. The pressure to be induced at a certain point beyond your due date is keenly felt by many women and can impact how calm they feel as soon as they hit 40 weeks! However it’s not a given that an induction will be necessary, its not a given that an induction will mean a C-Section. Talking through your worries can be very beneficial, if not with your partner/family or close friend then with yourself! Either write it out in a journal or speak it out loud (perhaps somewhere private) and have a really honest conversation. You could be surprised with the reason you feel anxious or unsafe. Once you’ve acknowledged it, you can let it go.
6) Breathe and distract. If you’re worrying a lot, feeling stressed a lot and talking about all the possibilities of how this birth may go just the way you don’t want, it’s time to have a word with yourself. Dwelling on something negative that may or may not happen is not going to be helpful at this moment in time. So breathe. Take a deep breath in through your nose and say to yourself ‘I breathe in calm’ and release it slowly, through your mouth thinking ‘I exhale all tension’. Take three of these deep breaths. Then go and dig our your favourite film (preferably one that’ll make you laugh to tap into your happy vibes) or put on some music that makes you want to dance and turn it up and get the bump wiggling! Get some fresh air and your blood moving with a short but brisk stroll or if you’re feeling adventurous, take some private time with your partner because not only will it get your happy, safe grove on but it won’t be long before the word ‘private’ will be changing significantly - includes sex, alone toilet time or eating an ice-cream to yourself.
Christy teaches Kent Hypnobirthing Classes in Maidstone and the surrounding areas. Her group classes are held in Bredgar. We also have group classes in Faversham, Folkestone and Margate and teach all over Kent. To see all the upcoming dates and course types here