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Why is relaxation important in labor?

What's the big deal about relaxation? Is this a help with a physical or mental process? Is it helpful during pregnancy or birth - or both? ~ The uterus is made up of three muscle layers. Each layer has a separate function during birth, but all work together as one large muscle. Fear, anxiety, and tension release hormones that can affect coordination and functioning of these muscle layers. Understand the process of labor and birth can ease those normal anxieties and help you to relax.

Why do I need to practice relaxation exercises before and during labor?

~ Your body needs rest breaks during the day - you're pregnant, for goodness sake! Studies show relaxation increases endorphins (your body's natural pain killers). Mastering relaxation is your most effective technique for easing labor pain. Abdominal breathing and relaxation brings more oxygen and nutrients to your baby. Make time every day to practice, once on your own and once with your birth partner - right after your pelvic tilts. You'll sleep better too!

My partner may not have time to practice with me. Is it necessary? ~ Relaxation is a life skill - important for both parents to learn. Discuss ways your partner can help you relax, have your partner read relaxation exercises you learned in birth class.

Try showing your partner the types of massage you like by demonstrating on him/her first, then trade places. Take time each evening to experiment with touch, abdominal breathing, soothing words - make it your special 'couple' time. Talk over realistic expectations -- how much assistance you believe you will need and how important the practice is for both of you.

You will find Bradley Method Birth classes offer the education, hands-on practice techniques and understanding of the process of pregnancy, labor and birth you need to feel confident.

Happy Birthing.

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