Most women will have at least one loved one attend her labour whether in hospital or at home. Usually the husband/partner will be there, mother, sister or best friend, and sometimes the siblings in a home-birth situation. All of your loved ones LOVE you and no one enjoys seeing a loved one experiencing pain. Also, none of them have probably every seen or heard you experience pain for what could be for several hours… Maybe they have seen / heard you swear your head off for a few minutes after you’ve stubbed your toe, or maybe you have groaned and moaned when sick with the flu, or maybe they have seen you scream and cry if you have ever broken a bone…BUT the sounds of labour are going to be very, very different and will most likely go on for a much longer period of time…becoming more and more intense as the labour progresses.
From the research I have done and from my own personal experience, making primal sounds during contractions whether that is moaning, groaning, toning or a combination of the lot, will assist with pain relief, relaxing and opening the cervix and keep the labouring woman in “the zone”…to name a few benefits.
So, first of all though, YOU need to give yourself permission and feel comfortable about making such sounds BEFORE the birth and so do the people who you have chosen to have support you (even some birth professionals need a reminder that vocalising is important). If your loved ones aren’t prepared it could bring up anxiety for them (especially if they are the type who want to ‘fix’ everything – most men are like this, and mothers tend to worry). You don’t want an anxious person supporting you and you also don’t want to be suppressing your sounds just because you don’t want to freak out your loved ones!!! Remember that you are using your voice as a pain relief and ‘opening up’ tool to help you birth your baby gently into the world!
You really can’t afford to abandon your voice but you CAN prepare your loved ones.
Here are some discussion points and exercises you can do with those loved ones who will most likely be present during your labour. Adjust the language of course, according to whether you are talking to your hubby or children…
Points for discussion:
5 fun and simple exercises:
1. Stand up. Open your mouth. Stretch your arms…and YAWN. Yawn as loudly as you can. Let the sound out. Yawning is usually contagious so relax (try not to laugh too much) and YAWN your head off!
2. LAUGH! Do “Ha ha ha’s” and “Ho ho ho’s” and He he he’s” “Hu hu hu’s” and a combination of them all. Make high and low, fast and slow sounds ie. Make your laughing interesting! Be creative! And enjoy laughing at each other! Laughing is also extremely contagious!
3. Take a deep breath, open your mouth wide and sigh “Ahhh” several times. Allow yourself to relax as you do this. Release any stress or tension that you may have held in your body through the day. Let it all go!
4. Crawl around on your hands and knees and pretend you are a cow! Kids love this one of course! Even if you are not a kid you will get a kick out of it! Choose some other animal sounds to explore together – monkey, dog, lion, kookaburra, elephant, cat
5. Everyone holds a piece of ice in their hand for 1 minute (the time of a good contraction) without making any sound. Talk about how this felt. Do it again this time making some long “Ahhh” and “Oooo” sounds or just moan and groan… allow whatever sound to be OK. Notice and discuss the difference when it came to coping with the pain.
More to discuss:
“Here’s how you can support me to make more sound during labour:
So there you go! Prepare yourself and your loved ones during pregnancy. Learn to LOVE your voice (even just accepting it would be good enough!) and then make the choice to draw on it as an awesome coping tool during labour.
If you want to find out how to add the soothing sound of a crystal singing bowl to the Soundbirth equation contact me! firstname.lastname@example.org
Enjoy making sounds with your loved ones! Let me know how you go!
Nicole Lloyd B(Mus) is a mother of four girls and creator of SoundBirth. Here she shares her experiences using sound before, during and after the birth and anything else about sound or birth that she feels like writing about!