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Well, to answer that, we must first understand our mind and our bodies and the importance of the mind-body connection when it comes to labour and birth.
To put it simply….labour (our contractions or surges) can not exist without the hormone oxytocin and what does oxytocin require to come out and play?
It needs an environment of calm, peaceful surroundings, with dim lighting and undeniable support. It needs to know you are feeling safe and loved: A feeling quite difficult for a labouring person to feel these days living in our 21st century world.
From the day we are born we are exposed to all the fear around childbirth: stories from friends, family, Hollywood, television and social media. We haven’t even given ourselves and our sub-conscious a chance to believe a positive birth experience is possible.
And yes, if we create a nice calm and supportive external environment then we are well on our way to allowing our bodies to labour instinctively and with greater ease, but we must also address the thought processes our minds might have around childbirth.
How Positive birth affirmations assist empowered birthing..
Our sub-conscious takes in absolutely everything we have ever been exposed to and learnt, real or not it cannot determine the difference. It remembers everything and stores it all waiting patiently for little reminders or triggers to bring up that old thought/memory/neural pathway. If the memory triggers fear within us, it’s going to set-off our autonomic nervous system’s fight-flight response. And what does that mean for old mate oxytocin?
It means he’s going to say “Hell no!! I do not feel safe at all”, and thus he retreats. As a result, your contractions/surges will begin to slow and then quite possibly words like “failure to progress” start to be thrown around the hospital room by your caregivers and interventions start to be considered and discussed. A great example of this occurring is the transfer from labouring at home to the hospital….how many times have you heard of the “I was labouring well, 4 surges in 10 minutes lasting 60 seconds. They were intense and then I got to the hospital and BAM, they were gone??” A tale as old as time…we feel safe and nurtured at home, it’s all very familiar. We get to the hospital: bright lights, unfamiliar people, clinical setting, it feels like things are “getting real” and your sub-conscious no longer feels safe resulting in oxytocin going back into hiding.
So, whether we consciously or not fear birth, our minds have almost definitely been exposed at some stage in our lives to a negative story of birth- one that your brain has held on to and thought “ooh, this is not an experience I want to be exposed to, this looks painful and scary.”
It is really hard to control our subconscious in the moment, we don’t know when our sub-conscious is going to be triggered and instigate a physiological reaction to a thought process through our fight -flight response system so that’s why we must start creating new positive pathways earlier- in pregnancy or even before!!
We can strengthen these pathways and make them the forefront of our sub-conscious so that when it is triggered it will head straight along these new neural pathways instead of your old ones paved by fear and anxiety.
Science has shown that our brains are totally malleable and can be rewired by our own thoughts: yes that’s right!… you really can rewire and change your own brain and its thought patterns; even regulate your emotions and reactions!! With a little practice we can work with our thoughts using a variety of different platforms one of them being Positive Affirmations.
Positive Affirmations aren’t just some “hippy dippy” let’s try and make us feel better in the moment nonsense. They are magical in the way that when exposed to them regularly enough your brain is constantly and yet subtly being reminded of the positive pathways you have created around birth allowing them to be strengthened and reaffirmed.
SO.. what’s happening within our brain to be able to rewire these thoughts?
For example; when you learn a new word:
Examples of positive birth affirmations
It is important that you find affirmations that you resonate with, ones that really do spark joy or courage or belief within you!! They might be more literal such as:
“The muscles of my uterus work easily and effectively, drawing up and allowing me to open”
“I am calm, capable, healthy and relaxed. Every single cell in my body is working perfectly”
“I am perfectly designed to bring my baby into this beautiful world”
“I will labour with love and strength”
“Each breath brings my baby closer to me”
or you might prefer more figurative affirmations such as:
“I see the petals of the lotus flower open, gently unfolding, I release and let go”
“Every surge is a wave rolling into sure bringing me closer to my baby”
“Birth is love and I am filled with love”
Play around with them, make it a fun activity- you might want to write them on cards and draw pictures or use a phone app to create a background design that you can type your positive affirmation over and then print off!
Place them up around the house where you are going to see them regularly throughout the day: in the bathroom, on the shower screen, on your bedside table or on the inside of the pantry cupboard so you get a little reminder as you are pulling out the vegemite for your toast each morning! Another way you could remind yourself each day is by setting little positive affirmation reminders on your phone that pop up at certain times each day!
Find a birth class like Little Bird Flies’ Hypnobirthing Australia’s Positive birth programthat is going to help you further create and strengthen these new neural pathways (highways) around birth through other means such as: meditation, self-hypnosis, visualisation, physical touch and more. The stronger they are, the easier it will be for your brain to drive along them and not get side-tracked by the old (maybe more familiar) negative roads!
Believe in yourself,
believe in the work you are doing to rewire your brain and keep on reminding yourself of all the little things that are going to create that positive birth experience for you!!Positive birth affirmations can be included into any birthing plan and treated as a type of mantra you rely on whenever you feel fear or anxiety coming on. This will prepare you for their use during labour. You may choose to say your mantra between contractions as a means of pain management or have them placed on your birth room wall as a little inspiration board you can focus on throughout your labour.
Affirmations, and all the other hypnobirthing techniques taught in Little Bird Flies’ hypnobirthing classes in Melbournecan be used whether your birth takes a medicalised pathway or if you choose to use pharmacological pain relief. The point is for the affirmations to help bring you to the present moment. To take a moment of pause, BREATHE and re-focus on what is important – listening to your body and connecting with your baby. Your affirmations are a solid reminder that you’ve got this!!
The techniques mentioned here, and many more, will help you create a positive and joyful birthing experience. Governing health bodies have confirmed that Hypnobirthing classes can provide helpful learning and techniques to improve the birthing process. If you still have some questions, feel free to give us a call at Little Bird Flies, and we can discuss our range of courses that cater to any schedule and any learning pace. We offer hypnobirthing classes in Melbourne.And you can take online classes from anywhere in Australia – Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Townsville,Darwin, Perth, Adelaide,Hobart, Central Coast, Geelong, Newcastle and Canberra