Relaxation & Labour Massage

60/90/120 minutes tuition with partner. (£50, £70, £90)

This is an opportunity to prepare for childbirth with your birth partner and learn some basic breathing techniques and visualisation techniques for childbirth, and simple but effective massage stokes that your partner can employ throughout labour.

The way in which we breathe is so important. When an individual is calm, respiration tends to be slower, more rhythmic and smoother. Inhalation and exhalation occur more naturally through the nasal cavity so the air is filtered, humidified and heated. When air enters and exits the body through the nose rather than via the mouth, more resistance occurs and exhalation therefore tends to last longer. All these factors aid efficient gaseous exchange and in this relaxed state, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, blood vessels dilate and circulation is able to replenish all the cells of the body without stress to the heart. When the parasympathetic nervous system is activated women are able to alter their perception of physical pain during childbirth, feel more in control of their labour and sustain their energy levels more effectively. It is helpful to familiarise yourself with a variety of breathing techniques during your pregnancy so that you can naturally draw upon these during childbirth.  Two or three techniques will be practised during your session.

As well as breathing techniques, a couple of simple visualisations will be offered as these can be useful tools to manage anxiety and internalise and your experience of childbirth. Whatever environment you choose for childbirth there may be times throughout your labour when you wish to take your awareness within and conserve energy but need to anchor your mind. The first early stages of labour can be frustrating and tiring and it is believed that stress and tension may slow this process down and therefore relaxing visualisations can help the labouring woman to become calmer, cope better and be less reactive to matters outside of her control. Visualisation and meditation may also help to balance and replenish energy levels and teaches the body to relax and the mind to focus on things other than the present pain.

Partners often want to help during childbirth but are unsure how they can be of best assistance. Simple but effective massage strokes can provide partners with an active, hands on role during labour. Massage to the lumbar spine can provide a welcome counter pressure to contractions, techniques around the base of the skull can help to relieve sacral pain, and gentle compressions and stokes can relieve tension throughout the entire body, especially during the earlier stages of labour.

Handouts are provided for home practice. One session will form a good introduction and equip you with a variety of techniques to practice and develop together at home. Further sessions are offered in you wish to continue to develop techniques and understanding.