Using forms of deep relaxation or self hypnosis are becoming more and more popular and in particular with those planning home or unmedicated births. Currently trials are being undertaken to look at the effectiveness of these breathing and visualisation methods with a view to offering courses via the NHS. Some hospitals are already offering classes run by midwives trained in these types of techniques. Courses which you can attend with your birth partners are popular as well as home study or self taught programmes. Ask your midwife or get in touch with your local homebirth support groups to see what is happening locally. There are lots of options available to suit most budgets.
Below are links to some of the more popular programmes. Books and CDs can often be bought second hand or borrowed too so do look around before committing.
Hypnobirthing The Mongan Method
The Gentle Birth Method
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Yoga is a fabulous exercise for mums-to-be. As part of your pregnancy well-being plan, Pregnancy Yoga can help you prepare physically and emotionally for the journey to labour and beyond – helping you develop confidence in your body and mind. Through the practice of yoga, breathing and meditation techniques chosen specifically for pregnancy, you will be able to bring your body and mind into balance. The physical practice helps to strengthen and tone your body, as well as creating openness and flexibility. The breathing practice helps to develop an awareness of the power of your breath and creates a connection between your body and your baby. Meditation, visualization and relaxation help you relax and soothe away any anxieties when thoughts or fears arise. At your pregnancy yoga class you will be given the chance to practice with other mums-to-be in a supportive environment and be given the opportunity to share your hopes and fears.
Contact your local teachers or ask for recommendations on our discussion group or at your home birth support group.
Maternity Reflexology can make pregnancy more relaxing for the mum-to-be. Regular reflexology sessions during pregnancy may help maintain the sense of wellbeing during the body’s various changes in pregnancy, aiding the pregnant woman’s sleep, relieving the various physical stresses and strains associated with carrying a baby and improving mood and emotional imbalance during a period of hormonal changes. Your maternity reflexologist will be trained to deal with a range of pregnancy health issues including oedema, gestational diabetes and hypertension.
Reflexology may also help keep the mum-to-be calm in the run up to the birth by utilising various relaxation techniques during the sessions. Indeed, many women have reported that reflexology helps relieve tension during the early stages of labour and promotes the mum-to-be’s sense of relaxation as she prepares to give birth.
Always check that your reflexologist has been trained to treat pregnant women.