- Practice relaxation, hypnosis, or meditation to teach your body and mind how to completely let go. Use it in your daily life when coping with stress and pain.
- Pick two-four categories to focus on from the one at a time chart. Let’s say imagery and sound. Pick one of the items from each category and put them together.
- Let’s say you picked leaf floating on waves and deep moo. When you feel a contraction coming on, you will close your eyes (or not) and imagine you are a leaf, floating on waves. No matter what kind of waves you are feeling, you are a leaf, just riding them, always coming back to the top. This image dominates in your mind; it is all you think. While you are riding the waves, you use the deep moo sound. This is the sound a cow actually makes, a kind of heavy moan (not the “moo moo here and a moo moo there” sound) and the vibrations feel good.
- As the contraction lets up, you quiet your moan/moo, picture your leaf coming to rest on a still pond, and depending on where you are at in labor, come back to the room or just sit with it until the next wave. You assume total relaxation between contractions.
- When the contraction ends, your ritual should end with relaxation and a thought of gratitude or peace, such as:
My baby is coming closer to me.
Now I get four minutes of rest.
My body rocks.
[My partner] loves me.
That was a good one.
I can do it.
I am doing it.
You practice your ritual in early labor or in pregnancy, and alter it as needed. Maybe when contractions pick up you’re actually feeling more of a “ooooohhhhh” chanting sound. Maybe early in labor you want to stand and sway but later you want to lay on your side and visualize your baby descending. Be flexible.
Pick a few others to file away (partners too) so that you can pull from them in labor. When you think “what do I do now!?” try adding another aspect to the ritual. Horse lips on each exhale or hip circles.
A note about panting: Panting is generally not a good idea. It’s on the list for times when you are holding your breath too much and it’s all you can manage or when you’re trying not to push. Some people also use it briefly at the peak of a contraction.