My work with pregnant women and babies, has really open my eyes to the whole process of conception to birth and beyond. The women and children that thrive within this process, seem to be the ones that feel empowered and connected to what’s happening. I don’t mean studying and reading books and magazine about pregnancy and self-help books for bringing up your child, I think these only highlight how different and complex every pregnancy, birth, and child is. I mean being aware of what is actually happening, what feelings this pregnancy is bring up and being kind and accepting of those sensations and emotions. It can be the most challenging thing you have ever done, so being open and flexible to what might happen, enables women to feel empowered and take time to make choices and decisions that have to be made during pregnancy and birth. Doing what right for them, not what everyone else may be doing.
One of the tools that I teach many of my patients, not just the pregnant ones, is breathing. I know, I know, we are all breathing all of the time and we don’t give it a second thought. But the way we breathe reflects the emotions that we are experiencing. For example when we are calm, and safe, we tend to use our diaphragm to breathe. This is a big muscle in between our rib cage and abdomen. When we are using it we can see and feel our abdomen expand with each inhalation and flatten when we breathe out. When we are exerting ourselves, with exercise, or stress we tend to use our ribs and shoulders more to draw our breath in, so the movement is felt in our chest. This sort of breathing tells our body to be ready for action. This can be exhausting on the body if it turns into a long-term breathing pattern.
If we flip this around, if we are feeling stressed, and are breathing up into our chest and shoulders, and we stop and spend a few moments concentrating on breathing into out abdomen, then it tells the body to slow down, lowers your heart rate, massages your gut, and tells your body you are safe and in no danger. This allows the feelings of stress, whether it is being over whelmed, out of control, panicked to subside.
We are programmed to give birth in a safe place. If our body/mind starts experiencing fear then the birthing process will slow down. By using deep diaphragmatic breaths during labour, it calms the central nervous system, and encourages the softening and opening in the pelvis.
In order to help more women during their pregnancy and birth, I have started an exploratory workshop, where women can come and give themselves some dedicated time to experience how breathing can help and how a birthing ball can aid that.
I am definitely not a midwife, and the body awareness skills I am teaching, are an addition to the support your Antenatal sessions are providing.
Next workshop Thursday 23rd Feb at Edington village hall, then fortnightly after that. 6.30pm-7.30pm.