Relaxing in pregnancy and in labour

We all know how good it feels after a decent night's sleep.  What is it about relaxation that leaves us feeling ready to take on the world? 

When the mind quiets down, the body follows suit and this is a particularly useful practice during pregnancy and at birth. It is thought that the the nervous system of an unborn child can be healed when the mother herself progressively relaxes her body and mind. Join us in our yoga classes to learn the art of relaxation!

Here are three simple steps to switch on your relaxation response

1. Become aware of your breathing, no need to change it, just notice!

2. Perform a body scan noticing physical sensations

3. Stay with this awareness for awhile, accepting the physical sensations, thoughts, feelings & images that arise and release

Dr Gowri Motha (2004) is an English obstetrician who teaches deep relaxation skills as part of her birth preparation practices. She says that the quickest way to full dilation is through deep muscle relaxation, which improves blood flow to the whole body.

Science tells us that in a state of relaxation, the brain exhibits alpha waves and these automatically result in the release of endorphins, the body’ natural painkillers. In labour, alpha waves also increase the release of the hormone oxytocin and cause the muscles within the pelvis to become elastic. You may experience much less discomfort.

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