Can you imagine what it would be like to give birth and feel completely relaxed? For many women, just the thought of labor and contractions causes stress. It doesn’t matter if you are planning to deliver your baby at a hospital or in your bathtub, it’s important to be prepared on how to have a calm birth, so you can have a positive (and less painful) experience.
When I went to my first prenatal appointment, I told my hospital midwife that I would be getting an epidural. The fear of pain was WAY higher than my fear of needles, so I figured I would pick my poison. Honestly, I was scared to give birth because of all the stories I had been told.
Needless to say, I went on to have an unmedicated hospital birth that was calm and relaxed. It was the most empowering experience of my life. Now that I’m pregnant with baby #2, I’m excited to start preparing for a calm birth (again) – especially since I will be delivering in a birth house!
19 Ways to Have a Calm Birth
Before I share my tips on how to have a calm birth, I want you to know that it doesn’t matter where you deliver your baby you CAN have a positive birth.
I chose a birthing house for baby #2 because I will have more control over the environment. Things like lighting, unmedicated pain management, and relaxing music are a priority in this setting.
Please don’t feel discouraged if you are choosing a hospital birth, I had a calm birth in this setting… It’s totally possible! Alrighty, let’s get into how to have a calm birth.
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1. Birth Meditations
This was the first thing I started doing during my pregnancy and I wish I started meditations sooner. It’s amazing how much this shaped my labor. Meditation will help you learn how to focus, breathe, and relax through contractions.
My favorite app is Expectful! They have meditations that are created for each trimester, labor, postpartum, and motherhood. I love that they have sleep meditations too, these are my favorite!
2. Relaxing Playlist
It’s amazing what a difference having a relaxing playlist made in my labor. Honestly, I didn’t think to put it on until I had been laboring for a couple of hours. But once we put it on, it really helped my body to relax.
Tips for Playing Music:
– Keep the Volume fairly low, where you can still talk over it without raising your voice.
– Bring a laptop, Bluetooth speaker, or if you use your phone an extra large charging cable
– Start creating your labor playlist early on, so you have hours and hours of music!
– Check out other birth playlists and see what songs they included.
3. Breathe Slow
Slow is the name of the game for a calm birth. It doesn’t matter if you are walking or just simply moving focus on slowing down. This will not only help your body to relax, but it will help your breath to soften.
I loved Bridget Teyler’s breathing techniques. I highly recommend watching them and then practicing them before you go into labor. When you couple this with meditation, it will really help you to focus and calm down through contractions.
If you enjoy meditation, hypnobirthing can really help you to relax and calm down through your contractions. I really enjoyed the Christian Hypnobirthing App! The whole course is totally worth it and will help you to feel prepared throughout your entire labor.
Every night before bed my husband jokingly said “you are a strong and independent woman.” And guess what the very first thought that popped into my mind when contractions became intense….. this phrase that I made fun of him for.
I actually listened to several birth affirmations. They were such an amazing reminder that I was built and made to do this!
If you invest in the Mama Natural Birth Course (which I HIGHLY recommend you do), she has affirmation cards that are really helpful.
You want warm and dim lighting while you are in labor. For this birth, I plan on getting some string lights and maybe even bringing a soy candle, to help set the mood.
This will be a bit of a challenge if you are birthing in the hospital. But, the good news is that your nurse can turn down the lights and close the window shades if it’s bright out.
Creating a pretty and relaxing environment isn’t the only reason why you need to think about lighting. I was surprised to find that it helps you to release melatonin…… which will help your labor to progress!
7. Support Team
Your support team will make or break the mood of your birth. This means you need to surround yourself (to the best of your ability) with people who are going to help you stay calm.
This is why choosing a provider who is calm and collected is REALLY important. But, I’ll touch more on this later.
If you are worried that you will struggle to relax, you may want to look into a doula. They can give you tips and techniques that will help you to calm down. Most doulas will also support your spouse if they need a bit of calming down too. Their job is to help you have the birth you want… even if that means dad needs some guidance!
8. Bible Verses
I loved meditating on Bible Verses during my pregnancy. I remember when I was pushing, I just kept praying that the Lord would give me the strength I did not have.
Because I spent months studying His word, I recalled so many truths during my labor! If you haven’t read my Bible Verses for Labor and delivery, these will help you to start learning what the Bible says about birth!
Most moms you talk to will use words like contractions, painful, hurt, or rupture.
Instead of using such harsh words try replacing them with surge, wave, intense, pressure, or release.
For some women, changing these words to something more positive helps them to relax more! I first heard about it when I was learning about hypnobirthing and I have to say that it really helped me.
10. Focus on the Reward
The best advice I was given was that during each “surge”, it’s important to focus on the reward……. YOUR BABY!
Each “wave” is one step closer to meeting your sweet baby. Throughout my labor, my husband would talk me through what it would be like to hold and love my baby. This visual thought really helped me to focus on the “reward” rather than the pain.
11. Labor Positions
Before taking the Mama Natural Birth Course, I had no idea that there were so many different positions you could try during labor. These can really help you to relax, calm down, and even ease the pain of your surges.
Some mamas SWEAR by the Bradley Method. This is a husband-coached approach where the mom may appear to be “sleeping” during labor.
I did study this method and applied a lot of the techniques, although laying down wasn’t an option for me since I had back labor.
12. Light Touch Massage
Have your spouse or doula try light touch massage on your arms or back! It actually releases endorphins that help to relieve pain.
I highly recommend practicing this beforehand. My husband did this almost every night before bed in the third trimester (Yayay for a back massage!), which really helped us to connect and hone in on what felt good!
Here is the video that I loved for light touch massage:
13. Choose a Provider YOU Trust
You NEED to trust your provider. If you feel any hesitation, you either need to pinpoint the areas that concern you and ask questions or interview a new provider.
When you trust the person who is helping you to give birth, you will be able to relax and focus on giving birth. I feel like this is a huge factor in whether or not you have a positive birth experience as well!
14. Get Educated about Birth
Knowledge is power; especially when it comes to giving birth.
The more you know about the process of having a baby, the less worried about it you will be. I think it’s vital that your spouse is also well educated. My husband was my mind and words when I couldn’t be. He was so aware of what was going on and understood the process, which helped me to focus on birthing my baby.
I mentioned this earlier, but I loved the Mama Natural Birth Course. My husband and I felt so prepared and ready when I went into labor. I truly don’t think I would have had such a positive birth experience if we had only went to the hospital birthing class.
15. Focus on a Positive Birth
Do what you have to do to relax. Even if that means getting an epidural.
I’m assuming that you are reading this in preparation for a natural birth, but it’s important to stay open-minded. At the end of the day, you want to have a positive birth experience. For many moms, this means avoiding a c-section.
My advice is to roll with the punches and to do the best with the cards you are dealt. I had to be monitored every 40 minutes (which was not in my birth plan), but we made the most of this by requesting a mobile monitor system… so I could continue walking during my contractions.
Check out my Positive Birth Story!!
16. Encourage Oxytocin
Oxytocin is the key to progressing in labor. It softens the cervix, triggers pain relieving endorphins, and helps the uterus to relax. This means less painful surges!!
There are so many things you can do to encourage oxytocin to start flowing. Things I did to increase oxytocin were taking a warm shower, listening to relaxing music, and having my husband do light touch massage.
17. Get in the Water
As I just mentioned, taking a shower or bath will encourage oxytocin to start flowing! Which then triggers your body to relax and relieve some of labor pains.
I wasn’t able to use a tub with my first pregnancy, so I hopped into the shower. Before getting into the water, I was a 4, and after I was almost an 8! It worked wonders on my tired and achy muscles.
18. Essential Oils
If you haven’t hopped on the essential oils train that’s okay! You don’t need to be an expert to use them during labor.
I had a lavender roller essential oil that I used during labor in the hospital. The smell brought so much peace and calmness.
My recommendation is to have lavender and peppermint (this helps with nausea) and diffuse it while you are in labor! There are so many essential oils you can use during labor, these two are just my favorites.
19. Gentle + Slow Movements
I mentioned this earlier but go slow. Every move you make should be slow and intentional. This will really help your body to relax.
I love body scans to help me loosen my body up. These really help me to know how to do this during labor.
20. Keep Your Jaw Loose
Did you know that your jaw and your pelvis are connected? I had no idea either, but it totally makes sense after reading doing a bit of research.
This is where practicing meditation during your pregnancy will really help you to relax your jaw, which in turn will help your pelvis to relax. When you focus on the tension in your face, you can be intentional about calming down your body so that your baby can easily turn into position for birth.
21. Familiarity and Comfort
The more familiar you are with the space, the calmer you will feel. Even if you are birthing in a hospital, bring things that will give you the comfort of home; socks, a birthing gown, or maybe your favorite blanket.
Although you may not notice it, just the scents of home will help you to relax. Make sure you have these things ready to go in your birth bag!
22. Trust Your Body
If you try birth affirmations, this one will transform your labor. You need to BELIEVE and TRUST that your body was made for this.
I found that reading Bible Verses about how created women to birth, helped to give me strength through the tough moments.
This is by far the MOST IMPORTANT step to having a calm birth; You NEED to prepare. This means practicing all 21 of these steps to relax during labor, right now. It doesn’t matter if you are in your first trimester or are due tomorrow, it’s never too early or too late to start!
I truly believe preparation is what helped me to have a natural, calm, and positive birth!
Having a calm birth sounds like a dream! I promise that with a little practice, you can have a relaxing labor and even look forward to delivering your baby. I hope these 22 tips on how to have a calm birth help you to enjoy your birthing experience.
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