By “AHHHHHing baby down”, in Hypnobabies we mean that moms are breathing, “aaaahhhhhh” to open their throats, because we know that if their throats are open and relaxed so are their bottoms. Through a process called peristalsis, our ‘gut’ which is one continuous tube, ‘communicates’ from one end (the mouth) all the way down through the digestive tract to the other end (the rectum). Whatever is going on in mom’s face, is being mimicked by her bottom. So, when mom is ‘breathing her baby down…ahhhhhhhhh’, she is relaxing her jaw, her throat is open, and she is relaxing and allowing her birthing muscles to bring her baby down through the birth canal slowly, and gradually. This is so the birth canal can unfold accordion-style, and open gently, and so that baby’s head can also mold to fit the pelvis slowly and gently. Baby is propelled by the force of the pressure waves, down a little, down a little more, and even a little more each pressure wave, and then baby slips back a bit when the pressure wave ends, in a gradual, “two-steps down, and one-step back fashion”. Mom breathes, ahhhhhhhhhhhh, and relaxes and allows her body and her baby to do all the pushing in the beginning. She allows her body to do what it already knows how to do, inhaling relaxation, and then exhaling and saying “peace” while powerful hypno-anesthesia automatically flows down and out ahead of her baby to exactly where she needs it in her bottom. This is similar to what women who have epidurals experience, …and the hospital staff calls it ‘laboring down’. Those moms typically don’t push at all until baby is on the perineum. Then, when baby’s head is so deep in the pelvis that it is pressing on the nerve endings in mom’s rectum, it will trigger a powerful, automatic bearing-down response. When this urge to push becomes strong enough that mom just HAS TO PUSH, her body will involuntarily push…POWERFULLY. And, she’ll begin to want to help that process by bearing down just a little at the peaks of some of the pressure waves. Then gradually that urge to push becomes longer and stronger until mom has an overwhelming urge to push throughout the entire pressure wave, each and every time. And, she will push because her body is guiding her to do so. Because I seldom see a mom be ‘quiet’ all through second stage and only relax and breathe her baby all the way to born…especially first timers, I tell birth partners that mom might begin to make powerful bearing-down sounds, similar to the sounds a martial arts expert makes as they execute a forceful karate chop! The power that she releases as she bears down, as she keeps her throat open enough for sounds to escape, can be quite loud, and sometimes startling to those around the mom if they misinterpret them as discomfort rather than a release of power. This is especially true since most caregivers are used to seeing moms with epidurals who don’t make any sound at all, and it can be unnerving to them. But, you’ll know that those sounds are power and most moms who vocalize as they push report that “it didn’t hurt, it simply felt good to make those sounds”.
Carole Thorpe, Hypnobabies Instructor and Hypno-Doula in Mission Viejo, CA