Having a baby is not just about your body. Pregnancy also affects your emotions and how you feel and care for yourself. Preparing yourself physically and emotionally will prepare your mind and body for labor, the changes that occur afterward and your relationship with your baby. A busy mind is common during pregnancy, as expectant mothers may sometimes feel overwhelmed.
Your mind and body are linked together. When your mind worries or feels fear, it affects your body, sometimes causing muscle tension and physical discomfort. Finding ways to relax helps move past fear and puts your mind and body at rest. There are many relaxation techniques that can be useful in easing anxiety before and during delivery and help to lessen pain as you recover.
Some forms of relaxation you may already know, such as reading, taking a bath, watching TV, listening to music, and talking with family and friends. These are all helpful to use as you prepare for birth and recovery.
Other forms of relaxation may be new to you and may be helpful in a different way. Practicing these mind-body skills long before you ever go into labor will prepare you for birth and recovery.
There are two main ways to relax:
Becoming aware of your breathing and learning different ways to breathe can help reduce your heart rate, increase your oxygen flow, calm your fears and change how you feel pain. Focusing on your breathing can help you shift your concentration from discomfort to something more pleasant.
If you need a more active way to relax, you can use a muscle-based approach. Or, you can combine it with another technique. For example, you could slow breathe for a minute and then focus on relaxing the muscles that have not yet released their tension.
When it's time to get up, rise slowly so that you don't get lightheaded.
Work toward relaxing your body with one or two slow breaths.
Guided imagery is the act of closing your eyes and imagining yourself in a positive place. It can be done with words from another person or with music. You can also imagine this positive place in silence. The relaxing effect of guided imagery is often a sense of calm and peacefulness.
relaxation worksheet can help you identify what techniques works best for you. That will help you create a relaxation routine. Do this routine for about five minutes each day. Use it to help you fall asleep at night or to give yourself a short break during the day
To prepare for labor, practice your relaxation techniques in the
positions you might use for labor and birth.
Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, seventh edition, ob-ah-90026
Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts
You can blend imagery with muscle relaxation Sit in a comfortable position and imagine a peaceful scene. Imagine the sun's ray gently warming your different muscle groups. Imagine the warmth releases all the tension in your muscles.
You can also imagine something cooling, such as a stream of water or a gentle waterfall.