Are you pregnant and wondering how to get through labour under the tight restrictions we have in the UK right now? Perhaps you would consider pregnancy yoga and hypnobirthing.
I used pregnancy yoga techniques and meditation to ease the pain of labour with both of my children. Yes, I felt the usual anxieties and I got very worried about how painful my first birth would be back in 2011. By the second pregnancy in 2013 I was much more relaxed about the process. My eldest daughter was born after a labour of approximately 13 hours, and although it ended in a forceps delivery and episiotomy (which I do not wish to suffer again), I felt pretty good about the whole experience.
While I was pregnant for my first time, I attended pregnancy yoga classes. They were fabulous. Not only did they give me a couple of hours of ‘me’ time once a week in the company of other women with shared experiences, but they prepared me for labour. The teacher is a wonderful lady who was very relaxed, helpful, and taught from experience. Alongside the women-only classes, I took my husband to a couple of workshops designed to prepare us for the labour itself, and my husband enjoyed the opportunity to be involved and learn about his role in the process. Lots of these classes are now available online via Zoom and other methods, so you can still prepare for labour in a way that will help you.
I don’t know much about hypnobirthing, but an article in the Huffington Post caught my attention. It sounds remarkably similar to the yoga breathing exercises I used during labour. There is no mystery and magic about natural labour. We have become a society where we focus only on pain and discomfort. We forget that the more we focus on pain, the more we feel it. Our mind and body will manifest whatever we think about the most, whether that be a delightful experience, or a difficult one. This concept might be hard to accept if you are a person that has suffered negative experiences, but it is something I believe in wholeheartedly.
When my waters broke, I was nervous, and when my contractions started, I was in agony. There is no other way to describe it. However, rather than waste all my energy screaming and shouting, I calmed my mind by breathing deeply and I focused on letting the contractions run their course. It didn’t take away the pain, but it did help me to work through it calmly and effectively. Once I was in established labour, my husband took charge of playing the meditation CDs I had chosen for the event, he helped me to count down my breathing patterns, and he was on hand to offer food and drink throughout. In fact, I couldn’t have done it without him. He may not realise this, but he was a key factor in helping me through what is a painful and intense process.
Ultimately, we women have lots of choices for giving birth here in the Western world. We are lucky to have the facilities of decent hospitals, specialist birthing centres, and the option for home birth if we prefer. My midwife suggested I try a water birth for my second baby, or even a home birth, but personally it doesn’t appeal to me. My hospital is easily accessible, and I would rather give birth in the hospital than at home, more for the practicalities than anything. My husband chose our music for the second labour, because my daughter appeared to fall asleep during the first one, which is why the surgeons had to intervene. He wanted to play his favourite heavy metal music, but she arrived so quickly that we never got the chance to play anything. Divine intervention, perhaps?!
Catherine is the author of the adult paranormal romance series The Redcliffe Novels and also The Darkness of Love, She has short stories published in YA anthologies, freelance articles on various industry websites, and contributes to her personal blog, and her author blog .