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How to Prepare to Prepare Your Body for Birth!

Updated: Mar 16


Hi! I'm Christine Angrove, a certified doula who is passionate about prenatal education!


Most of us think of the parts of ourself as separate. And so we think of birth preparation as separate categories:


1. Prepare my mind: learn all the things about pregnancy, birth, and babies.

2. Prepare my emotions: we could probably skip this one, right?

3. Prepare my body: learn about safe exercises to do in pregnancy.


Let's think of ourselves as a whole person!


What does that mean when it comes to birth preparation?


To grow, birth, and care for a baby in our most powerful and joyful way, we need to integrate our whole body, mind, and emotions.


Our body and mind and emotions are linked. We are the same person! So if we are sensitive physically (perhaps to loud noise, scratchy tags in clothing, etc.), we will also be sensitive emotionally and mentally.


Once we begin to understand this, we begin to realize that we are really powerful to unstick our brain or emotions or body by working with another part of self.


Our body is an essential part of the birth process....obviously! We don't give birth with our brain, although our brain helps because we are connected.


I want you to know that your body will move more powerfully and comfortably through the birth process if you integrate your emotions and thinking into your body work.


How?


The power of love.


No really. :)


You were created for relationship. Your natural habitat is close relationship! You feel safe in close, loving relationship.


When you feel loved and safe, your body relaxes and your birth hormones flow better, and your uterus contracts more powerfully and efficiently. See that connection?


So now we're back to preparing the body.


The first thing I'd like you to do to prepare your body, is to integrate your parts of self, while relaxing under the touch of a loving birth partner. Who are you bringing into your birth? It should be someone who feels safe. It could be a romantic partner, a safe loving family member, a safe loving friend, or a doula. Or a combination! You get to choose. But remember to focus on who feels safe and loving!!


Let's start our body preparation with massage! What part of your body feels safe to be touched? I recommend the shoulders as a great spot to help your whole body relax. It works for most people. But sometimes our trauma history makes having certain parts of our body touched feel unsafe. If that's the case, pick a different part of your body, perhaps your hands or hair. And if you find it hard to be touched, I would recommend going to a trauma therapist who uses EMDR or another body based trauma therapy, to help you build safety with your body.


Now, regularly, even every day, practice massage with your birth partner.


Sit in a chair so that your partner has access to your shoulders. Start by feeling the tension in your shoulders (or wherever you've chosen to use massage). You can give the tension a number on a scale of 1-10. Do you know how to belly breathe? Take deep slow breaths with a longer exhale. Your belly should pooch out. Breathe into your full lungs. It takes a bit of practice...if you haven't done this type of breathing before, practice it separately. This type of breathing tells our body to relax! Ask your partner to massage you with the touch that feels best to you. Focus into your body, and give feedback. This is a good chance for your partner to learn to listen to what your body is saying. Great practice for birth! Usually a firm but gentle rhythmic stroke that goes from the neck over the shoulders is great, but listen to yourself! This massage is different than a therapeutic massage, We're not trying to get the knots out. It's not supposed to be uncomfortable.


1. Integrate your mind: As you relax under your birth partners touch, think good thoughts about them. Like, "I can trust this person to help me with this pregnancy and birth," Or "This person loves me."


2. Integrate your body: Feel the relaxation flow from your partner's hands into your body. Feel the feelings in your body. Scan your whole body, and relax under your partner's touch. Maybe lean forward onto the kitchen table as you relax your body more! A long deep outbreath helps increase relaxation!


3. Integrate your emotions: Think about your positive emotions about your birth partner. Feel the emotions. Where are the emotions in your body? When I think about a person I love, I literally feel the love in my heart. Where do you feel it? Enjoy the feeling, and further relax your body!


You're going to start becoming aware of the overlap between these categories. Like feeling the positive emotions will relax your body, and that will make you think more good thoughts about your partner.


This massage could be as long or as short as you want...just integrate the three parts of self. As you practice, it could be very short. When you're finished, feel how your body feels and give it a number on a scale of 1-10. Are you more relaxed?


Our goal here is to create automatic relaxation of mind, body, and emotions just by having your birth partner touch you. This will help you so much in the coming months! You probably already have a head start on this because you chose the person you feel safe with. Now, increase your safety and relaxation by practicing regularly. It's going to help!


Now you're ready to start other body preparation work...like exercise.


My Prenatal Education Course, 'Your Labour Tree', teaches you much more about integrating your whole self as you powerfully grow, birth, and parent your new baby. I'm cheering you on!! Learn more about me on my website:


With Love,

Christine








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