The Real Housewives of... Labour and Birth
Say what? Oh yes, your guilty pleasure TV is going to change your birthing game…for the better
How often do you think about your brain? That beautiful brain of yours does so much, and yet you pretty much never think about it. Maybe aside from the times you thought it was literally going to explode from a hangover (remember those days?).
But here’s the thing – your brain is SO important during childbirth, whatever type of birth you have – vaginal, instrumental, c-section – all of them. And this is why, my friend…
Think of your brain as having two states, like, two ‘ways of being’. The first one is your cool, calm, collected state. Your every day, happy state. Think about how you feel when you are sitting on your sofa, eating popcorn, watching Real Housewives. In fact, let’s call this your ‘Real Housewives’ state. When your brain is in the Real Housewives state, it produces Oxytocin – the happy hormone. The hormone of love, fun and feels.
Now think back to that time you were running late for that mega meeting with your boss, the printer was jammed and you spilt coffee all over your notes. Gahhhh! Think stressed, jumpy, anxious as hell. Let’s call this your ‘spilt coffee’ state. In this state, your friend Oxytocin is nowhere to be seen. She is outta there! Instead now your brain is sending adrenaline all over the shop.
So why should you even care about this? Well, it’s simple. Your birthing body needs Oxytocin. Oxytocin helps to make all the labour cogs turn more efficiently and comfortably. Adrenaline, on the other hand, messes with those birthing cogs like damp weather messes with your hair. No-one wants that.
OK then, jeez, Alex, just tell me what I need to do to get my Real Housewives state on, I hear you say.
Luckily, there is loads you can do and here is a quick-fire snapshot of just some of the ideas we go through on a BirthSure hypnobirthing course. It all boils down to you feeling safe, unobserved, comfortable and calm. Here are some top techniques for each…
I wanna feel safe!!
Of course you do – that’s nature’s way. Feeling safe is a must. Asking your caregivers plenty of questions will help you make decisions you are happy with and boost your sense of security and confidence. And remember, lady, no-one has the right to perform any kind of procedure on you unless you give fully informed consent (more on this one in an up-coming blog). It’s your birth and you are in the driving seat.
I wanna feel unobserved!!
Have a little switch around of your birthing environment if you want to – dim the lights, move the bed out of the middle of the room, make it clear in your birth plan that you don’t want folks wandering in and out of your space and they defo shouldn’t be asking you 20 questions when you’re ‘in your birth zone’.
I wanna feel comfortable!!
Work with your body during labour. Listen to it and move in whichever way feels natural. Keep gravity and an open pelvis on your side and have a play with a birthing ball or birthing mat. Use water if that makes you feel good – if you can’t get your hands on a birthing pool, try a bath, shower, foot bath or even good old hot water bottles. If you’re hooked up to a monitor, ask your caregiver if it’s even necessary and if there are alternatives, like wireless monitoring, for example.
And breathe!! You’ve gotta breathe to get that in the Real Housewives state. Slow breaths in, slow breaths out. Super important. More on breathing in an up-coming blog.
I wanna feel calm!!
Bring out all the feel-good vibes. Music, soppy movies, affirmations, hypnobirthing audios, gorgeous smells, your own pillow, meaningful photos. Surround yourself with lovely things that make you feel like the birthing goddess you are. If you’re having a c-section, ask your caregivers about ‘gentle’ or ‘mother centred’ cesareans and really make the environment your own special little place.
And my top tip – get your visualisation game on. Close your eyes and let your fabulous brain take you off on a journey somewhere amazing. Somewhere you feel safe, unobserved, comfortable and calm. It could be as fancy as laying on an exotic beach, or as familiar as a cappuccino in Gail’s. That’s the magic of it, you can be anywhere.
Check out the BirthSure guide to Giving Birth During a Pandemic for techniques to navigate birth during Covid-19. You can find it on the website pop up.
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I believe in you – you’ve got this, Momma!