by Brenda Baylis, Doula
The Three R’s of childbirth — relaxation, rhythm, and ritual — are so natural to me as a result of my background in meditation. For over 20 years, I’ve worked with various relaxation techniques and have learned how these techniques can help support the memory of the body to relax and just “be” in an experience as intense and wonderful as childbirth.
Through my own practice, I’ve learned how to soften around the hijacking of relaxation and move into complete comfort. These practices can also help to support the beauty within labor!
❤️ Relaxation during childbirth
This can mean many things to many people. During labor or even between waves (contractions), we can apply relaxation techniques through different breathing patterns, visualizations, and soothing touch.
❤️ Rhythm during childbirth
This practice can not only give the supporter a moment-to-moment visual of where the mom-to-be is in her coping skills but using rhythmic sounds and movements can be a soothing practice during this journey. Some of the techniques include:
- listening to or creating voice sounds
- producing guttural, primal, or even quiet soft vibrational sounds during waves (contractions)
- rocking back and forth as you’re standing
- rocking in a rocking chair rhythmically
- and many more
❤️ Ritual during childbirth
This practice either is or becomes, personal. It can be spontaneous or known to be meaningful to the mom-to-be. Some examples include:
- Doing a full rhythmic activity during every wave (contraction).
- Activating a continuous rhythm of rocking back and forth in a rocking chair throughout the entire contraction.
- As she goes through her breathing techniques during her waves, the mom-to-be could also, with her eye, follow her partner’s hand as they gently massage or strokes her. Perhaps the mom-to-be’s partner is wearing a special ring she can gently follow.
- One story tells of a mom-to-be who was a rower in high school. She found visualizing her rowing technique soothing, matching it up with her breathing with rhythm and created a ritual every time she had a wave (contraction).
Practicing the Three R’s during childbirth is valuable for supporting the beautiful journey of labor and delivery. Under any and all situations and conditions, they help to relax and allow the body to work with the baby, even during any interventions.