Why is it important for the body and mind to speak the same language?
The mind and body are not separate entities; rather, they are interwoven aspects of our being. Scientific studies have shown that mental and emotional states can significantly influence physical health. Conversely, physical well-being also plays a pivotal role in determining our mental state. Recognizing this relationship can empower us to take a holistic approach to self-care and ensuring that our mind and body are speaking the same language.
So how does this apply when it comes to giving birth?
When it comes to birth, our clever body has a continuous positive feedback loop which connects mind and body together.
When surges are starting and beginning to stretch the cervix, this stimulates the nerves, which then sends a message to the brain. The hypothalamus part of our brain (which produces the oxytocin) then creates this oxytocin and is secreted into the bloodstream by the posterior pituitary gland. This then reaches the uterus to continue the surges.
The same also applies when we naturally encourage our oxytocin levels. When we feel loved, secure, happy and safe, we naturally boost our oxytocin levels. So this further encourages the feedback loop to continue as mentioned above.
This shows that when our mind and body are speaking the same language, they can work in harmony together.
It's also a very sensitive system, which can easily get upset or disrupted.
For example, if the mind is anxious or stressed, this communicates to our body that something is wrong, which can then lead to the body going into fright and flight mode and creating symptoms such as fast heart rate, sudden bowel movements and body trembling.
If we are stressed or anxious during birth, our brain is telling our body that something is wrong, it needs to stop what it is doing, which will slow everything down including the oxytocin levels and the surges. This can sometimes stop labour completely until our body feels assured by our brain that it is safe for labour to continue again.
By understanding what your body is doing during labour and understanding why it happens, this will help you to feel calm, confident and positive, which in turn will help your mind and body be able to communicate together and keep that continuous positive loop going.
Embracing this mind-body connection during labour and birth, can lead to a more empowering and positive birth experience.
We now know why it's important, so how can we encourage it?
Here are some ways you can encourage a healthy connection between mind and body for labour:
Education and Mindfulness: Knowledge is empowering. Taking childbirth education classes and learning about the process can help reduce fear and anxiety. Practicing mindfulness techniques during pregnancy can also help stay connected to your body and reduce stress during labour.
Emotional Support: Surrounding yourself with a supportive birth team, including partners, family members, or doulas, can create a nurturing environment. Emotional support during labour can enhance the oxytocin positive loop and promote feelings of safety and security.
Visualisations and Affirmations: Positive visualisations and affirmations can help you maintain a positive mindset during labour. Visualising the birth progressing smoothly and affirming your body's strength can reinforce the mind-body connection.
Movement and Relaxation: Remaining mobile and engaging in gentle movement can help the labour process, as well as relax the body and mind. Positions like walking, swaying, or using a birthing ball can aid in the descent of the baby and ease discomfort.
By embracing this mind-body connection, you can experience a more empowered and positive birth experience. By giving your mind and body all the tools it needs, they can work harmoniously together to let your body do what it needs to do for birth.
I cover all of this in detail throughout my hypnobirthing & antenatal classes. For more information, please see my website (www.beyourownbirth.co.uk) or my social media pages on Instagram and Facebook.