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MindBody Practices for Birthing Women

Originally posted November 5, 2013.

I wonder every day why MindBody practices aren’t brought into the hospitals to support and enhance the experiences of birthing women.

Mindbody practices support people on multiple levels. Relaxation practices slow the reactivity of the stress response down.

Many life tools for having an emotionally satisfying birth are available at a very low cost or even, yes, for free. I’m dismayed from what I hear in my counseling practice every week about the services hospitals offer for women and their families during childbirth.

Safe touch has many proven emotional and physical benefits. Safe touch provides the mom with much needed emotional support from her partner, which in turn, is one contributing factor to reduce the occurrence of postpartum depression and anxiety.

Safe touch is shown to reduce circulating stress hormones in the body, promotes stress reduction. Stress is a contributing factor to postpartum depression. So safe touch is calming, beneficial and promotes emotional wellness.

The BirthTouch® book teaches partners simple, mutual shiatsu to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety and stress responses during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.

Guided imagery and hypnosis have been shown in numerous studies to improve have positive outcomes in surgery. Montgomery and his colleagues found in a meta-analysis of 20 studies about hypnosis and surgery. The hypnosis treatment group had better outcomes than a whopping 89% of the non-hypnosis group.

How about that? 89%?

The Birthtouch® Childbirth Education program consists of four sessions, tailored to the woman and her family. Evidence-based mindbody practices are incorporated into your program, including guided imagery, expressive art, EMDR and Birthtouch® Shiatsu & Acupressure.

Compared to surgical costs, even the cost of gasoline and food, it’s obvious that hypnosis and other complementary care practices are low-cost solutions to help support birthing women to enhance their birth experiences.

I worked in a hospital-based Cancer Center for three years. I ran the MindBody Program, which consisted of counseling services and complementary care services. We offered an array of complementary services that supported the hospital’s patients and their families on mind, body and spiritual levels. There was so much sadness, loneliness and fear surrounding a cancer diagnosis that the complementary services provided welcome comfort and relief.

This was a robust program to support people and their families through their journey with cancer. Here’s a sample of the programs we offered: Gentle Yoga, Tai Chi/Qi Gong, Interactive Guided Imagery®, Meditation, a Reiki Volunteer Program, with trained volunteers, short Reiki sessions were offered in the patient treatment rooms, and full length Reiki sessions were offered by appointment. We also offered Reiki Training for Self-Care. There were support groups to help people cope with their mental and emotional anguish and to support them through the often arudous treatment.

It’s obvious there would be tremendous benefits to birthing women if there were more support from the medical community for these research based mindbody practices.

The hospital where I worked decided to cut the very low cost MindBody program.

But you don’t have to cut common sense care out of your life.

Check out the Birthtouch® site: there’s an array of information for you to check out: free information on the blog about Mindbody Medicine, a free giveaway on my homepage about the Effects of Stress on Pregnancy, the BirthTouch® books for sale, personal on-site services, and online programs all for your gentle support!


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