The Power of Language in Labour and Birth

Posted 02 Apr 2022

Words are powerful and the way we use them can directly affect how we think, feel, behave, the actions we take and how we relate with others. A particular word can carry a deep energetic blueprint that whether conscious or unconscious can create a cascade effect.

But why does this matter during Labour and Birth…?

For a moment if you were to close your eyes and say the words either to yourself or out loud “contraction”

Notice what starts to happen…

How does your body feel?
What emotions bubble to the surface?
Do you associate the word with a memory?
What other words do you associate with the word “contraction”?
Perhaps its squeeze, clench, tense, narrow, pain?
How does your body instinctively want to move?

Now complete the exercise again and instead of “Contraction” say the word “Surge”

Was there a difference? 

How did it feel compared to the word “contraction”?

Most people associate the word “surge” to a wave..a feeling that comes to a point and then dissipates. 

Even though these two words are used to describe the exact same experience they both create a different expectation, reaction and response for a woman during labour.

With a simple change in language we can instantaneously create a different response mentally, emotionally and physically and therefore possible outcome.

power of language during labour

As you will learn in the Hypnobirthing Australia | Positive Birth Program ™, it is important for birthing mothers during labour, to feel deeply relaxed in order to be able to release, let go and allow their bodies to open up and to shut down the neocortex part of their brain, which allows their instinctive ability to birth naturally to take over.

How we use words during this time can either greatly support a woman in this process or can have a detrimental opposite effect.

When a woman’s fear response is activated, her body goes into a flight or fight response which causes blood flow to be re-directed away from her uterus and towards her limbs to prepare her to respond to the perceived threat. This can have a huge impact on her body and her progress of labour. Her surges may become irregular, slow or even stop which may begin ‘the cascade of medical intervention’

So how can we start to use words as a powerful tool to support us during labour and prepare us for a positive calm birth?

First step is awareness. Let’s become more aware of the words associated with labour and birth and the effects it can have on our mind and body. As we start to do this, it’s so important to become more aware of what we choose to listen to from the media, our friends, family and birth stories. Most women’s first exposure to birth is from movies where birth is depicted as scary and fear inducing. The more we surround ourselves with examples of listening and hearing positive birth experiences the more we condition our mind to expect a positive experience. In the Hypnobirthing Australia|Positive Birth Program ™ you will receive an extensive Parent Folio full of resources including a list of common words used during labour and the more empowered alternative to start to create a different relationship with your body and upcoming birth.

Second step is communication. Communication between you and your birth partner is an important step as supports you both to be on the same page and allows your birth partner to support you on your special day by being able to ensure your birthing space feels calm and safe and be your advocate in the room whether that be at home or in hospital, allowing you to drop in and relax and for your body to open, let go and release. Communicating your birth preferences prior to your caregivers/birth support team is also a great way to help them have your back on the day. Also, by creating loving boundaries with people close to us it let’s them know the types of conversations we want to surround ourselves with. Again, the more positive experiences we surround ourselves with the more we are priming our mind and body to expect a positive experience.

Last step is preparation. The words we use are habitual, especially when we have heard them being said time and time again by our friends, family, our community and in the media. It takes time to change habits and this is why preparation is key. Repetition is one of the things we can do to change our beliefs on a subconscious level. You want to give yourself time to practise, repeat and practise again.

Language during labour

Some of the ways we can start to prepare are:

Writing, reading and repeating positive affirmations. Affirmations are a great way to rewire our brains and how we talk to ourselves about birth and labour. In the Positive Birth ™  program you learn many different ways to implement the power of language to support you during labour. These include hypnosis, scripts, affirmations, practise tutorials, positive birth videos, birth preference templates and more. You will also learn how to create an anchor word with your birthing partner, that when said will help deepen your state of relaxation.

So, If you’re ready to embrace how the power of language can support you in experiencing a positive calm birth, I’d love to invite you to book for a Complimentary Matrescence Discovery Session with myself at Maiden Meets Mother to get to know you, your partner and how I can support you in feeling prepared, relaxed and ready to rock your birth.

Read more here about what is included in the Hypnobirthing Australia ™ Positive Birth Program.

With love,
Suzy Volokh HBCE
Founder of Maiden Meets Mother
Pregnancy and Matrescence Coach


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