All Hail the Uterus
The Uterus is a misunderstood part of the pregnancy and labor process but is the most important, in my opinion, to learn about and understand in order to have a healthier, easier pregnancy and labor.
A few interesting facts about the uterus:
Your uterus changes drastically in size during pregnancy to accommodate your growing baby. When your baby reaches full term, your uterus will be bigger than five times its original size with a capacity of 500 times more than before you conceived. It’ll be 15 times heavier on its own without the baby and the placenta. After you give birth, the uterus immediately starts contracting to shrink itself. One week after delivery it’ll weigh about 1.5 pounds but two weeks after birth it’ll be down to 11 ounces. By the six week after pregnancy it’ll be back to its pre-pregnancy weight of 2.5 ounces.
– Courtesy of Pregnancy-info.net
In HypnoBirthing, we teach couples about how the uterus functions in labor and ways to help ease discomfort that may arise with uterine contractions, or surges. The more we know about the physical process of labor, the less anxious we tend to feel. It lessens that “fear of the unknown” that can hang like a dark cloud over the labor process.
In a nutshell, when a mom goes into labor, the muscles of the uterus begin to work together, synergistically, to help dilate the cervix and move the baby into position for descending into the pelvis. The muscles of the uterus contract and relax, contract and relax. The mom’s body releases more Oxytocin, periodically, to increase the frequency and duration of the contractions. Her body then, right on cue with the release of oxytocin, releases more endorphins to help her relax into the process. This is how moms get through natural labor- more contractions are matched with more endorphins.
The human body is fascinating. It’s a well-oiled machine that, when given a chance (and lots of patience), will almost always function as it should and on its own timeline.
So what is the “magical” technique we teach moms in Hypnobirthing?
Of course, I’m not going to give you ALL the goods from Hypnobirthing class in this blog post. You should take the class to find out more- wink. nod.
What do muscles need to work efficiently and optimally? OXYGEN.
So, therefore, we teach moms how to calm themselves with their breath. We practice and condition our bodies/lungs/minds using hypnosis and relaxation techniques learned in class. A relaxed body and a uterus saturated with oxygen and blood flow will decrease a mom’s pain and allow her body to focus only on the matter at hand- Labor.
Here’s what I want you to practice- whether you are pregnant or not:
- Find a comfortable spot to sit or lay down
- Close your eyes
- Breathe through your nose if possible, out through your mouth- slowly
- Try counting to a slow count of 8 as you inhale, a slow count of 8 as you exhale
- Notice where you are tense- with each exhale relax your body into the chair or couch
- Try to do this for about 5 minutes per day
- Deep breathing calms your entire nervous system and sends lots of oxygen and relaxation to your baby
All hail the uterus!