Erin Fung, from Better Birth and co-facilitator of The Birth Network – Bromley, has written an A to Z of birth and gives some great insights on lots of important topics.
A is for adrenaline
Adrenaline is the hormone that is released when your body feels fear. When you feel afraid, threatened or somewhere unfamiliar, your primal brain, the sympathetic nervous system, triggers freeze, fight or flight mode and secretes adrenaline. What effect does this have on birth and the birthing mother? In early labour, adrenaline can reduce the flow of blood to the uterus in favour of outer extremities, causing your uterus to tense, your heart rate to raise, make you feel anxiety and panic and stall your surges (contractions) and labour.
So how can we reduce the production of adrenaline in labour in order to prevent labour stalling and the resulting interventions such as induction to kick start labour with synthetic oxytocin? We need to switch from the freeze fight or flight state to a calm state. To do this we need quiet, dimmed lights and as little distraction and chatter as possible. There’s lots you can do to help with the natural production of oxytocin to get those surges going.
Adrenaline does however have a place in birth, and birthing women get a rush of adrenaline at the “transition” phase of labour. Most midwives will tell you a woman transitioning will suddenly start saying she can’t do this, want to get baby out and so on, but the adrenaline actually gives the mother a huge rush of energy which is needed near the end of labour, and helps with the strong contractions needed to birth baby.
Want to read more? Find the rest of Erin’s A to Z of Birth on her website.
Julie Dodd from North Kent Yoga shares her thoughts on why doing yoga during pregnancy is so beneficial.
There are many reasons why attending a prenatal Yoga class during your pregnancy could be beneficial. Here a just a few examples:
Getting some regular ‘me’ time is important for everyone’s well-being. At a prenatal yoga class you can relax, have fun and make friends with other pregnant ladies, often gaining a support network to help you during your pregnancy, through the early years of motherhood or even making lifelong friends
Comfortable, Calm Pregnancy
Yoga can help you remain comfortable and calm throughout your pregnancy. When practiced regularly, Yoga can help to strengthen and stabilise your body as it changes while your baby grows, safely tucked up inside your womb. Yoga can help to prevent or ease the discomforts of pregnancy such as pelvic girdle pain, back pain, insomnia and anxiety.
Prepare for Birth
Yoga can also help you to prepare you for the birth of your baby by learning breathing techniques and labour poses to aid the birth. Familiarise yourself with the different birthing positions and calming breathing techniques available to you, all in the comfortable environment of a Yoga class. This can empower you to feel confident to use them when the time comes, making labour and birth a more comfortable experience.
Feel Connected and Supported
Your Yoga teacher will know lots of local pregnancy and birth well-being specialists such as doulas, hypnobirthing and independent midwifes. She may even invite them along to the class occasionally. Learning about what is available for your pregnancy and birth can help you make an informed choice about your birth plan. This can help you to feel calm and confident about the birth.
So, what are you waiting for? Google your nearest pregnancy yoga class now!
Julie teaches prenatal and Scarravelli Yoga in Swale, Maidstone and Medway. www.northkentyoga.com