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Are you preparing for labour? Here’s how to get mentally ready

In Features, Motherhood, Pregnancy + Birth, Stories by nat

The mind is a powerful thing. Gai O’Dwyer shares some strategies to overcome fear and embrace your upcoming labour with a whole new mindset.

By Gai O’Dwyer

If you are having your first child it is quite normal that you may have some trepidation going into labour. Generally when something is unfamiliar or a brand new experience we can become fearful.

Many pregnant women associate labour as a time of extreme pain and a physical battle. This thinking can consume some women for the whole nine months. The focus is then lost on all the other special and amazing things pregnancy brings.

I am not dismissing that labour is painful or very physical. Although, both of these factors can be significantly reduced through mindset; enabling strength, endurance, and control in a situation that may seem out of your hands.

My first child, Freya, was premature. I was induced as she was posterior and I had her in five hours naturally. I am sharing this story not for my own significance, but rather to demonstrate. Even though the events leading up to this labour were not ideal, I had a really positive labour and in part I attribute this to my mindset.

You may be wondering how your mind can be more powerful than your physical body?


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The physical body follows the mind

We focus on our physical health during pregnancy and labour. And I agree it is a must – as is our mental preparation. Think of your mind as a computer. Your thoughts, feelings, beliefs you have are the software that is feeding your computer. It’s is crucial that what you are saying to yourself and others is top quality software.

The first step to preparing our mind is to become aware of what we are saying or not saying to ourselves. For example, if we are saying that labour is going to be horrible, scary and excruciating – well, our physical body will obey the mind.

Pick and choose who you listen to

Be careful of whose advice you listen to. Well intentioned friends, other mums, and relatives love to share their birth stories. If they involve trauma, unfortunately these can accelerate your own fear. Just because someone had a negative experience, this is not evidence that you will. Bring the focus back to you, your mindset and your experience.

preparing for labour, mama disrupt

Practice makes perfect

Visualising is a wonderful Neuro Linguistic technique. Try visualising how you want to feel, think, hear and see before labour, during labour and after labour. To get the best results it’s good to be in a quiet space with your eyes closed. Repeat this practice over and over. By doing this you are programming your computer – your unconscious mind – and giving yourself the best chance to prepare for your upcoming labour.

Finally, relax and don’t get too consumed by labour. Ask any woman that’s been there – the hard work really begins when you bring that beautiful baby home.Birth didn’t go to plan? That’s ok.

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