- Rock the Baby Breath – This practice slows the breathing down, cultivates relaxation and increases oxygen in the blood supply. The rocking motion of the belly gently massages the baby who also receives the rich oxygenation of the blood. This technique can be used for managing the sensations of labor.
- Get in to a comfortable position (seated or lying on the left side)
- Place your hand(s) on your belly. Relax the throat, the tongue and the soft palate, feel how that cultivates a release in the visceral body. Keep the throat relaxed.
- Slowly inhale through the nose, feeling the belly expand (rocking the baby out), as if blowing up a RED balloon
- Slowly exhale through the nose, feeling the belly contract (rocking the baby in), watching the RED balloon deflate
- Continue in this manner, changing the color of the balloon as in a rainbow
- Baddha Konasana/Bound Angle Pose – A powerful pose for women as it stimulates abdominal organs and ovaries, stretches inner thighs and groin, and soothes menstrual discomfort and symptoms of menopause.
Directions: To practice this pose during pregnancy, find a comfortable seated position (recommended to sit on a folded blanket and/or sit against a wall for support). Bend the legs and draw the soles of the feet together. Press the feet together and (gently) release the knees down. Take support under the knees if the sensation in the hips is too great. As you breathe in, feel the energy rise up the spine. As you breathe out, feel the energy descend the spine, grounding into the earth.
- Breathwork: Focus on the Exhalations – Naturally deepen the breath by focusing on the exhalations.
Directions: Start by observing the breath as you normally experience it: in, out, in, out. Now reverse your conception of the breath by starting the cycle with an exhalation, so you breathe out, in, out, in. Do this for a few minutes, simply observing your breath, without trying to influence it. While doing this, relax the throat, the tongue and the soft palate, feel how this makes the entire body feel at ease.
- Japanese Do-In Self Massage – Energize yourself and increase blood flow by tapping your body along acupressure points.
Directions: Make a loose fist and tap down the front of arm and then tapping up the inside of the arm, including shoulders and chest. Then switch and repeat on the other arm. Tap up the inside of the leg and down the outside of the leg, including the buttocks and lower back. Switch and repeat on the other leg. Gently massage belly in clockwise direction ending with one hand over your heart and one hand over your belly.
- Tension/Release Cycle – Learn to identify tension in the body and how to release it by purposefully tensing and releasing muscle groups on command.
Directions: Find a comfortable resting position, on your left side or reclined on your back (but not flat on your back). Have someone read you this script and follow their instructions.
“We are going to practice tensing and releasing certain muscle groups as a way to learn relaxation. Let’s start with your forehead. Raise your eyebrows [PAUSE] now let go, release and smooth the forehead. With your eyes, look up, down, right then left. Now close the eyes softly. The muscles in and around your eyes are relaxing. Forehead smoothing out, and all the little worry lines beginning to fade and disappear. Now press the lips together [PAUSE] release and part the lips slightly. Press the tongue against the teeth [PAUSE] release, let the tongue relax and feel thick and heavy. Keep the tongue relaxed and tense the jaws [PAUSE] release and allow the jaw to fall open slightly. Relax the eyes, the throat, the tongue, and the soft palate. Feel how this relaxes the visceral body.
Now pull the arms tightly against the body [PAUSE] release and relax the arms. Allow the arms to feel very heavy. Clench the hands to make a fist [PAUSE] relax the hands. Fill the lungs up with air [PAUSE] exhale fully. Feel how this cultivates relaxation. Pull the belly in to hug the baby [PAUSE] let go of the hug and relax the belly. Pinch the buttocks together [PAUSE] relax the buttocks, allowing the muscles to fall away from each other. Press the feet and legs together [PAUSE] relax the feet and legs, letting them feel loose. Scrunch up or curl the toes gently [PAUSE] release and relax the toes. Relax the arms. [PAUSE] Relax the hands. [PAUSE] Relax the chest. [PAUSE] Relax the heart. [PAUSE] Relax the hips, the thighs, the legs and the feet. [PAUSE] The whole body is relaxed now, heavy, limp, peaceful, calm and quiet. [LONG PAUSE]. Stay here as long as you wish and enjoy the relaxation.”
- Affirmations – Develop a positive mindset by repeating affirmations to yourself. This technique has been shown to improve outlook as well as increase life energy.
Directions: Repeat one or more of these affirmations to yourself as much as possible, whenever you can! Make it a formal practice by sitting quietly or leave yourself reminders to repeat chosen affirmation/s throughout the day (post-it notes can be helpful!).
- I put all fear aside as I prepare for the birth of my baby
- Pregnancy is natural, healthy and safe for my baby and me
- I am calm and relaxed
- I welcome the changes in my body and love the new life growing inside me
- I take good care of my baby and myself
- I look forward to becoming a mother
- I move easily through labor and birth
- My baby is correctly positioned for an easy birth