Have you heard of the elusive birth zone?
Maybe you have heard the term and nodded in agreement but actually you haven’t got a bloody clue what it is and how it can HELP you work towards smooth, uninterrupted labour…
It’s OK, I can help you get to grips with it; So what actually is it?
Every woman might describe differently,
To me, it’s not so much a mindset but a state of mind and living totally in the moment.
A place of being rather than doing. You find yourself out of your head and feel into your body.
You lose yourself the awareness of your surroundings and focus inwards.
There is no concept of time in the birth zone, things just happen on autopilot.
Typically women get less verbal, more instinctive and perhaps even glaze over. It really is the sweet spot when it comes to birth.
The birth zone is the state that you are aiming to get to when you listen to a Hypnobirthing MP3 or a guided relaxation/meditation and perhaps even though doing pregnancy yoga.
Let’s give you a whistle-stop tour of your brain. I’m no neuroscientist so this is worded in hopefully easy-to-understand lingo
Think of the brain in different parts. There is the forebrain (aka the neocortex) and the hindbrain; The forebrain is in charge of thinking and decision making.
Then there is the Hindbrain. This is an older and more instinctive part of the brain and it’s THIS part of the brain that you want to tap into during labour to help it to be smooth, and uninterrupted with regular contractions.
When you are using the hindbrain, your brainwaves actually CHANGE. They slow down as you enter this dream-like state and go from beta (awake, normal thinking) to alpha (relaxed, lucid, not thinking)
Truth be told, you can give birth in a coma, we don’t NEED thinking and rational decision-making forebrain to do it. Our body just instinctively gives birth for us. Crazy right? Sometimes it’s our actually thinking that gets in the way!
But just how can you get out of your head and tap into that sweet little birth zone?!
Here are my top 5 tips to get In the birth zone and you may even find yourself doing these on the day without a second thought (go instincts!)
There are lots of breathing techniques you can use during labour and they will all differ slightly but they have one thing in common, they give you a focus, by focusing on the breath coming in and out and feeling the sensations it helps you get out of your head and into your body. Focusing on your breathing helps you to enter a meditative state aka the birth zone.
Consistency and rhythm are key here. Circular or figure of 8 motions repeated over and over help to narrow your focus and go inwards to the birth zone. In pregnancy yoga I teach this movement on all fours, here you are fully supported and grounded. On all fours your eyes are down toward the ground which helps you to withdraw from the world around you.
3: Close your eyes.
Light is stimulating to the forebrain and remember that’s the bit we want to switch off to get you in the birth zone. This is great because you can do it WHEREVER you are. If you are feeling distracted or uncomfortable in your surroundings in any way then consider closing your eyes. I recall instinctively doing this during labour, despite having gone to great lengths to make the birthing space look beautiful with fairy lights and affirmations on the wall. My eyes were closed 80% of the time, especially during surges.
4: Avoid unnecessary questions.
Language and decision making activates the forebrain, it’s the thinking, here and now part of the brain we want to avoid. This is worth flagging to your partner who may want to ask you if you are ok for their own reassurance. You could also make it part of your birth preferences that you will ask for pain relief if and only when you want it rather than being asked. Some questions are of course totally necessary and as a birthing person, your informed consent is crucial when performing any medical intervention. I always suggest at my Hypnobirthing classes that any questions are asked BETWEEN contractions for minimum distraction.
5: Switch off the tech.
You may find your phone or Ipad comfort in the early stages of labour for watching funny films or looking at happy photos. But I encourage you to consider if you want to continue using it in the same way as birth progresses. Your smartphone is very stimulating and activates the forebrain. Admittedly we rely on our phones for so many things nowadays. During the birth you might want to be using it for photos or timing contractions or even contacting family. The way to get around this is to hand it over to your partner and allow them to act as a gatekeeper between your birth zone and the outside world
Empowering you with knowledge about all the amazing things your body is capable of AND How you can learn to work WITH them, is integral to my Hypnobirthing courses. If you like what you read here then this is just the tip of the iceberg!
Book a 15-minute consultation to hear more about how my Hypnobirthing course can help you take back your power, get informed and feel ready for anything. Courses are available in person In London and online for the rest of the world.
I hope you found this blog useful. Please share with anyone who you think might be interested.