Gabrielle Targett Q & A: Get your head ready for birth
1) Why is it so important for expectant mums to be mentally prepared for labour?
I believe birth is 90% mental and 10% physical and this is why women have to be mentally prepared. I have found the skills for preparation that can make a difference are; thinking positively about labour, practising breathing techniques and learning through hypnosis how to surrender and most importantly really trusting in your body that it can do this job your body is designed to do.
2) What are the benefits of writing a birth plan?
The benefits of writing a birth plan is that you are documenting to yourself, your partner, support people and care providers exactly what your wants and needs are. This can assist everyone to know what you want to work towards when you are in labour, so you will not have to explain it to anyone as it is right there on the paper. Remember to stay positive, writing down only your wants and needs not the don’t wants as they will take care of themselves.
3) Do some expectant mums try to control the labour process too much?
Yes, too many women in labour feel that they need to be in control. I never use the word control when I talk about labour. Control in labour suggests to me that a woman in not letting go physically or mentally and is in her lateral thinking part of her brain and holding on. Control = Adrenalin which is not conducive to allowing labour to flow. The opposite to control is surrender which is when a woman is in the primal part of her brain where she allows the flow of the wonderful hormones oxytocin and natural endorphins the hormones that work for a woman in labour to assist her to cope with the intensity of the contractions.
4) What are some tips for dealing with fears about the birth?
Fear can be: False Evidence Appearing Real. Don’t set yourself up to think you are going to have a terrible experience of labour. Start to think positive, read positive birth story books, talk with women who have had great labour experiences and most importantly begin to start trusting in yourself and your body that you will be able to cope with the intensity of the contractions. Who knows you may be pleasantly surprised so starting thinking and feeling positive today.
5) What other things should mums-to-be learn about or research?
It is really important to learn about: how to surrender in labour and how to breathe so that you are able to let go in your body of any tension so you can surrender to the contractions.
I highly recommend that you research the use of hypnosis for labour. Listening to a hypnosis script each and every day can do wonders for lifting your confidence and belief in your self and ability to birth. My hypnosis Cd’s are available to buy online at alabouroflove.com.au
6) Are there physiological benefits of positive thinking in the lead-up to birth?
Yes most definitely. In my experience of attending births over the last 15 years women who think in a positive way have a greater chance of experiencing the labour they are thinking about in a positive way. They also go into labour feeling confident and prepared mentally and physically and are able to just let go and surrender when the intensity really get going. This of course can assist the body immensely to open in the cervix more quickly, hence shorten labour length.
7) Do some women respond well to alternative techniques such as visualisation and hypnobirthing?
The women that I work with who use hypnosis learn through listening to my scripts on cd each and every day or having face to face session in my studio. Either way they practice techniques to assist them to learn how to remain calm and at peace going inwards to the place women need to go to when in labour. Hypnosis also teaches women how to relax, surrender and learn labour breathing which are the most important skills a woman needs to be able to do in preparation for labour. When I do deep hypnosis with my clients and I get them to visualise themselves birthing it has a profound effect on how they see themselves labouring and giving birth. This type of alternative method under utilised and completely underestimated in its effectiveness and potential to make a positive difference in the way a woman labours.
8) Can you suggest any helpful techniques be used to keep calm during labour?
Listening to a hypnosis script when in labour is very beneficial in assisting a woman to remain calm especially if she has been practising that script repeatedly prior to labour beginning. Getting into the shower and having hot water running over your skin can help you to relax and let go. Playing soft music, dimming down the lights, taking calming remedy orally and having some massage on your lower back from your support person all assist a woman to keep calm and focused within.
9) Do you have any other comments or tips for mums-to-be?
Start to think and feel positive about your imminent labour experience. Read positive books like A labour of Love – a guide to natural childbirth without fear and listen to my Hypnosis for Birth scripts. Try to shut out negative stories. Remember that you own this experience and it is for you to decide how you want it to be. Be clear and positive about what your wants and needs are when writing your birth plan. You only get one chance to labour the way you want to so make sure you prepare yourself mentally and physically for this event. And most importantly really trust in yourself and your body that it can do the very thing your body is designed to do!