When you think of a birthing room do you see something in your mind’s eye from a TV programme like ‘One Born Every Minute’? A clinical, bright room, similar to an operating theatre. Would you feel relaxed in a place like this to birth your baby or feel secure and supported? If you are not relaxed during your birth, stress hormones can slow or even halt the birthing progress.
In this blog, we give you suggestions on how to create a peaceful, private place with a calm ambience for your birth. We have put together a few tips to quickly create a serene space within your birthing room where you can feel cocooned and comfortable. This is a great way to facilitate your natural birthing hormones to work positively with your body and your baby. Feeling relaxed and at ease will reduce adrenaline and allow oxytocinon to flow, making your birth experience more enjoyable.
Ensure privacy – set the boundaries
Once inside your labour room, close the door. It is ok to ask anyone who needs to enter to knock first. Some Hypnobirthing families put a notice on the door to remind everyone that they are needing a quiet undisturbed space to focus on their birth.
Think of each of your senses and to each one apply a positive change to create the perfect environment for your birth. Within one minute, you and your birthing partner can change the atmosphere in your room to make it a positive birthing space.
Bright lights can be startling and stimulate the sympathetic nervous system – the fight or flight response. This can hugely hinder the birthing process. So, instead dim the lights. Most women prefer a dimly lit environment to birth in. Draw any curtains and pull down the blinds. Use battery operated led candles and strings of non flashing fairy lights dotted around the room. Individual tee lights can be placed in the bathroom and birth pool area too. This creates a relaxing vibe. Place a few photos from home that bring you comfort and make you feel at home. Perhaps a photo of another child or your pet can calm any anxiety and distract the senses. If there is anything bothering or distracting to you in the room make it known and ask if something can be done about it.
Your sense of smell
Make a small sniffing pot of appropriate essential oils to use during contractions or to leave open in your birthing room. An electric diffuser may not be permitted so ask for permission first . Always seek a qualified aromatherapist’s advice in advance to discuss which essential oils are safe for pregnancy and birth. The fragrance from the oils will invoke a calm, relaxing feeling in turn reducing adrenaline. The ‘fear-tension- pain cycle’ is reversed make you feel calm, confident and in control.
Sense of touch
What you choose to wear while birthing is important too! It has to feel comfortable on your skin. Try it on before you pack this item into your birthing bag. It should be soft and light allowing ease of movement and allow easy access for skin-to-skin or a breast feed after your baby is born.
Also, think of what would be comfortable to wear in a birthing pool. Some ladies like to wear a bikini top, others a tee shirt. If it is the latter a short light teeshirt is best as a long one can absorb water and become too heavy. Your own blanket, pillow or pregnancy pillow or other textiles from home may make your room feel much more personalised and much less clinical.
Ensure your birthing partner knows how to do pregnancy massage. Light touch massage releases endorphins- these are neurotransmitters known to relieve pain and stress. At our hypnobirthing session we teach birthing partners a variety of methods of massage to to use during various stages of labour.
It is important to keep hydrated throughout labour to ensure the body has energy to support the birthing process. Pack drinks that appeal to you and also snacks that serve the same purpose making sure that they are easily accessible to you. Often a cup of your favourite tea is very acceptable in the early stages. Don’t forget honey as a small teaspoonful in water can give you that added boost of energy required. A mouthwash/toothbrush and toothpaste will help you to feel refreshed.
Sense of hearing
The mind and body are so closely connected it is vital to reduce any negativity during your birth. Positive affirmations are one way of keeping positive during birthing. These should be short, simple phrases that replace any negative thoughts. They can be pre recorded on your phone/ iPad playing softly in the background or on headphones. They can also be written on cards and framed or post it type notes and placed around your birth room. These should be familiar phrases that have been practiced in the weeks leading up to the birth.
A well thought out play list of gentle rhythmic music is also really beneficial. It will have a soothing, uplifting affect and can provide distraction therefore reducing stress. Spending some quiet time listening to the music during your pregnancy enhances the relaxation effect. It’s also worth mentioning that sometimes in the birthing room, quiet is what you really want and need. Quiet is good too!
We thoroughly recommend our hypnobirthing sessions for education and information on all aspects of birthing. From correct breathing techniques to advice for your birthing partner who is then equipped with all the best tips and tools to be your advocate through birth. A birthing partner who journeys through the labour as an encourager, carer and advocate means the mum-to-be can relax and focus on bringing her baby earth side knowing her birth wishes are fully understood and she is prepared and nourished ready for the most exciting journey of her life.