If you are pregnant and thinking about your impending labor, here is one little tidbit you might want to know about. Creating specific types of sounds, especially those used in toning, can help ease labor pains for pregnant, birthing mamas. That’s right toning.
I’m not talking about just any sounds. Not the screams, shreaks and agonizing gripping sounds that escape most birthing moms in hospitals and other childbirth locations around the globe. I’m talking about primal, intentional toning sounds, the ones you might hear yoga practitioners, monks, sound therapists and even animals make. Yes, that’s right, there is something about toning that can do wonders for childbirth pains. Why?
Bet you didn’t know that if you saw images of your throat and your birth canal (before labor) you wouldn’t be able to tell which is which. You wouldn’t. The two are so remarkably similar, composed of very much the same types of muscles and tissues – though the birth canal is obviously designed to open larger. The throat is intimately connected to the birth canal and the cervix and how open or closed they are.
Studies have shown that when women feel intimidated or embarrassed by the sudden appearance of strange doctors into their birth room, their cervix, once dilated, will clamp down. The same is true of our throats when we don’t feel comfortable in a situation, our jaw will get tight – even getting that ‘lump in the throat’ feeling. When you tone, you massage and relax the muscles in the throat and by so doing, open it up. Simultaneously, it has been found, when the throat relaxes and opens and the jaw is loose, the cervix dilates and the birth canal widens. Brilliant!
How do you do it?
Toning is easy, just open your mouth, relax your throat and allow sound to naturally move out of your abdomen. There is no forcing the sound and it isn’t like singing, just let the guttural noise be heard. It might feel strange at first, which is why it’s a great idea to practice before go time. The wider you let your mouth fall open – still relaxed – the more you will feel the throat open and thereby training the birth canal to do likewise. It helps to bring your attention to the perineum during toning and even try and feel the subtle vibrations massaging the pelvic floor as you make sounds. You might feel silly at first, so practice alone, but don’t worry, when it’s time for labor -it’s all you and it shouldn’t matter what anyone else thinks. You do what you need to do – whatever works is the key, right?
“Sighing the sound “mmm” with the mouth closed on your exhale, during contractions, has been found to be balancing, harmonizing, and integrating to the nervous system: lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and assisting in pain relief. In yoga, it is the most subtle and most powerful of toning sounds.“
If this is your first pregnancy and birthing experience, toning might seem weird, embarrassing or strange. However, once you get into the position where unstoppable pain-like sensations are battling for your attention, you may find it life-saving to have this sneaky toning trick up your pregnant mama sleeve. Just a suggestion. What have you got to loose? Just the pain, right?
If you don’t know how to approach it, just start by making different vowel sounds, letting your lips move around to feel how it feels in your throat. As long as there is no strain and you feel your throat opening, you are doing it right! Just keep at it – as practice will soften the usually tight muscles of the jaw and throat area, preparing for an easier labor.
As you count the days down to that magical day, why not have a couple tricks at your disposal. You never know what you’re gonna need. For ages, toning has been used in various cultures to help ease birthing pains of pregnant mamas during labor. Now you can use it too. It’s simple, you don’t need a manual and you can start practicing today! Good Luck and have a magical birth!
Written by: Stasia Bliss