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Why is relaxation so important in pregnancy ?

Written by Emma - our Baby Bear hypnobirthing and pregnancy relaxation teacher .

I always found it so difficult to relax in both of my pregnancies - particularly my second as I spent my days with a toddler at that point! I suppose I knew it would be lovely to relax, but never prioritised it as I didn't realise just how important it was.

Western lifestyles mean that we rarely find time to relax. We are constantly switched on, whether at work or home, because of social media and other tasks that always need to be completed around the typical working day. This means that most of us just don't give our brains the break they need. Practicing relaxation will: - Lower your stress levels - Help you think more effectively - Help you control pain (yes, that's right!) - Make you more emotionally calm All of these things will not only help you in your everyday life, but also in birth. By practicing and becoming an expert in relaxation, you are essentially preparing for your birth in a really practical way.

Relaxation also boosts the production of endorphins and oxytocin, which are two incredible hormones that are crucial for birth. You can actually build up a bank of these hormones towards the end of your pregnancy, ready for your body to use to help you meet your baby! Although our bodies produce oxytocin to kickstart labour anyway, they sometimes need an extra boost to get started or even just to ensure labour progresses well. If we're under stress, we produce adrenaline. This hormone stops, pauses or slows labour, which is definitely what we're trying to avoid! And yes, relaxation really does help us to control pain. When we relax, our muscles are relaxed and the natural process of labour happens much more smoothly. If we are tense during our surges in labour, our babies are moving down against taught muscle, which causes more pain. We then find ourselves caught up in the fear-tension-pain cycle. Being emotionally calm and stable will really help us to stay clear of this cycle.

In order to keep this relaxed state of mind during labour, we need to practice relaxation throughout our pregnancy so that it comes naturally to us when we need it the most. By learning about our incredible bodies and minds, the science behind it all, some amazing breathing techniques and ways in which our birth partners can help us relax, you'll definitely be much more prepared for your big day! What do you do to relax?

If you fancy a bit of time for you to prioritise yourself and practice relaxation, learn lots of useful Hypnobirthing tips and meet other mums-to-be to go through your pregnancy and motherhood journey with, why not come along to our Pregnancy Relaxation classes? We also have more incredible pregnancy classes coming to Baby Bear's Den, including a monthly Hypnobirthing workshop!

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