Heart to Womb breathing video

Mindful breathing for life - and birth!

Over the coming weeks I am going to be sharing a series of short videos demonstrating some mindful breathing exercises,  which you may like to use as part of your birth preparation.

These simple techniques can equally be used in any aspect of life ! Not just pregnancy ! They will help to calm and focus the mind, releaving anxieties and stresses.

Our minds are often busy and can easily run away with us into a state of constantly thinking, planning, anticipating, judging, and equally lead us into a spiral of worry or anxiety.

As we tune into the sensations of the breath, we can allow the mind to rest, as well as gradually learning how to re-directing our actions and reactions.  Taking control and re-orientating our experience and feelings, as apposed to letting the mind run into overdrive and off in it’s own (sometimes harmful) direction !

Connecting with the sensation of the body and the breath helps to draw us into the present moment, and over time develop gratitude and appreciation for the subtle yet powerful sensations of simply ‘being.’

Coming back to the breath can feel like coming home, back to our true nature or essence : the simple fact that our heart continues to beat, and our chest continues to rise and fall - we continue to feel very much alive -  can be both humling and nourishing.

Breathing for birth

Such an understanding of harnessing the breath can be be a particularly powerful tool in birth, as well as in life at large.   Long deep breaths in labour will help to calm the nervous system and aid the release of lots of lovely oxytocin – which assists the natural and swift progress of birth.

At the same slow gentle breaths can help to calm the mind , thus helping us to avoid drifting into a fear response  - which ultimately provokes adrenaline, slows the birth process, and can make it less managable or comfortable.

By practicing these connections through mindful breathing exercises in pregnancy, and integrating them into your way of living, they will come more naturally and freely to you in labour.  

I often use these techniques during my pregnancy yoga classes as a way to start bulding connections with the body and breath, in preparation for birth.  I also use them as a starting point to my hypnobirthing classes if a mum or dad-to-be struggles with staying alert or focusing the mind, ready for guided visulaisations and deep relaxations.

PLEASE READ MY BLOG HERE FOR GREATER DETAIL ON THE USEFULNESS OF MINDFUL BREATHING TECHNIQUES IN PREGNANCY AND BIRTH

With these video’s I hope to provide you with different techniques to try out and experience the different ways in which you can connect with the breath and the body ! They are by no means prescriptive so the idea is to use them as a starting point for your own personal journey and exploration.  Gradually you might  add your own visulations / affirmations or adaptations to them which is wonderful !  Once we make these connections we often find that our intuition guides us to focussing on a certain aspect that we particularly need to build on or strengthen, especially where labour and birth are concerned !

I hope you enjoy them ! I would love to hear back from you if there is anything you find particularly powerful or useful so please do get in touch !

Happy breathing !!!

 

 

A good memory of birth? Women remember...

  

You will always remember your birth

What Penny Simpkin says about birth memories and compassionate care in this youtube clip is so very poignant.

One of the strong messages I receive from birth stories that are sent to me - and other comments I receive from women about their births -  is that they remember in great detail every dimension of their birth, down to the minutest detail; years later, decades later...

I vividly remember when I was first contemplating training as a Midwife, and I spoke to many women who re-inforced this: "Women always remember their birth." They remember every smell, every sound, they remember the EXACT words spoken to them...

Speak to women in their 50's, 60's, even 70's, about their births, and they can still tell you exactly what they were doing when they went into labour, what they were wearing, what they had for supper, what was happening in the world at the time…but most of all they will remember the way they were treated by their caregivers; be it positive or negative.

They remember the kind words, the reassuring touch - of a Doula, midwife, doctor, or family member - and they equally remember the unkind words or treatment....

That care means so much to women, and I think it is illustrated so beautifully in this extract from Amanda's birth story here:   

"When it felt as though I had been pushing forever, the student midwife was kind and calm, and every time I pushed she would encourage me - I felt like I tried hard for her because of the encouragement.   The other midwife was like the Trunchbull in Matilda and kept telling me that I had to push for longer because it wasn’t doing anything – this made me want to give up."

These are the stories that women carry with them forever, they carry them out of the birth room and they penetrate so many aspects of their lives...

They are the stories we tell to our friends. our families, our children and our grandchildren.  

They are life long memories, let's make them good ones.

   Respect, Honour, dignity, compassion…they matter to women not only on that incredibly profound day of their birth; the day they become mothers…but they matter because those words and those actions reverberate and resonate for the rest of their lives.

 

Respect, Honour, dignity, compassion…they matter to women not only on that incredibly profound day of their birth; the day they become mothers…but they matter because those words and those actions reverberate and resonate for the rest of their lives.

Nurturing positive birth memories; nurturing strong mothers.

Penny Simpkin's clip (below) illustrates beautifully why preparing for a positive birth, and having excellent emotional care during labour and birth is so important to women.

Penny is an American childbirth educator, and was a major proponent, and developer, of the role of the 'Doula' in providing emotional support, and compassionate care for women during pregnancy and birth.

One of the wise women of modern childbirth, Penny has an INCREDIBLE wealth of knowledge around pregnancy and birth, which she has developed through decades of working closely with pregnant women and new mums across the US (it is estimated that she has worked with over 13,000 parents!)

Luckily for us she has now created a wonderful series of short video clips on youtube where we are able to absorb some of this wisdom - sent direct from her living room in Seattle! 

These clips are a great resource for parents, childbirth educators, doulas, midwives...and anyone else supporting women holistically during birth.