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breathwork

Shortness of Breath in Pregnancy

 
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Women often have a heightened awareness of their breathing, have mild breathlessness or feel a slight shortness of breath in pregnancy. This is related to normal conditions of pregnancy, such as:

  • Hormonal changes

  • Added demands on the heart

  • Increased oxygen needs

  • Pressure of the growing uterus on the diaphragm

Shortness of breath after exertion is worse in women who smoke or are not physically fit due to a lack of exercise or sedentary lifestyle.  

To keep or get in shape and build your stamina, do an aerobic form of exercise - like brisk walking, dancing, cycling, and swimming - at least ½ hour 5 times per week. If you’re not accustomed to exercise, start lightly and build up slowly. But, listen to your body, modify as needed and avoid overexertion. And, of course, quit smoking right away.

Feeling stressed, so common in the modern world, contributes to shallow breathing and worsens the feeling of being winded and tense. Conscious breathwork is literally key to your salvation. It will transform your life, and can certainly make a huge difference in labor too! 

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If You Experience Shortness of Breath In Pregnancy

There are a number of methods shown to reduce shortness of breath in pregnancy. Try some of the ideas below and find what feels right to you.

FOCUSED BREATHING

Periodically check in on your breathing. If you’re breathing fast, slow it down. If it’s shallow (just from the chest or not a full breath), try to take deeper, fuller breaths down into your belly. Regularly make yourself yawn several times.

Practice one of the following breathing exercises for a few minutes a few times daily. Ideal moments are before going to bed at night, before rising in the morning, and throughout the day. Draw on this exercise whenever you experience:

  • Stress or internal tension

  • Anger or triggering

  • Depression or sadness

  • A break in activity (for example traveling, bathing or waiting in line - let these be opportunities to practice and perfect your skills)

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Three-tiered Breathing. Deep abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing is the optimal form of breathing and an effective natural tranquilizer, especially if you do it often. To train yourself in this way of breathing, get comfortable in a reclined position or sit up straight. Then, place your hands on your belly and concentrate on breathing into them. While doing this, bring your attention slowly into your body from head to toe, observing and releasing any muscle tension. Be mindful of what you are currently seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, tasting, and all the sensations of breathing. Just watch without judgment or attachment. This takes you into the present moment, and is wonderfully relaxing.

  1. Exhale slowly through your mouth with an audible sigh.

  2. Inhale deep into your belly for a count of 4 or 5.  Imagine a pump expanding your abdomen and lower back which causes you to inhale, then allows your ribs to expand with air, then your upper chest to rise towards your collarbone and shoulders.

  3. For a count of 4 to 5, slowly release your breath through your mouth in the same order as the inhale - from abdomen to ribs then upper chest. Let go and relax more each time you exhale.

  4. Repeat this cycle for a total of 8 times or at least a few minutes.

Extended Exhale Breathing. Inhale deeply into your belly as above, for a count of 3 or 4, then double the exhale to a count of 6 or 8. While breathing in this way, focus on internal sensations, surrendering and relaxing deeper with each exhalation. Repeat for several cycles for at least a few minutes.  

Just Breathe by Dan Brule is an excellent book about all types of breathwork to enhance your well-being. There are also helpful phone apps called Breathe and Calm. For more guidance and deeper transformation, schedule an online or in-person breathwork session with me.

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MEDITATION AND MINDFULNESS

State-of-mind, high vibration thoughts and intentions (your deeply positive goals and truest, most lofty desires) and spiritual connection can all be significant factors in the quality of your breath, and the results you feel from conscious breathing.

We all need to be very careful about what we say to ourselves repeatedly, as thought is creative and can lead to manifesting our reality. What we say to ourselves - the good stuff and the not so good stuff - we can often make happen. Literally. Never underestimate the power of the spoken word and your inner self-talk.

If a thought supports, empowers and inspires - and leads to good or uplifting feelings - let it flow. If your internal dialogue leads you to feel more stressed, anxious, unhappy, upset, not good enough, victimized, limited, or increases suffering in any way, drop it like a hot potato.

Know you can avoid going down a slippery slope and that you have the power to turn off the spiraling record player of negativity. It takes great personal work to replace those lower vibration thoughts with higher ones that are actually more true and supportive, but regular practice will elevate your life immensely. You can turn those negative, often false thoughts, around to the opposite. Examples could be:

  • I am good enough at …. (instead of I am not good enough)

  • I have the strength to handle this (instead of I have no more strength to handle this)

  • I am a great mother (instead of I am a bad mother)

  • He/She should have done that or that should have happened (instead of they should not have done that or that should not have happened), because it did happen, they did do it, so it was actually meant to happen (without condoning harmful actions that were done by someone)

  • I am loved and cared about (instead of no one loves or cares about me)

  • That was just what I needed (instead of that ruined my day)

Another great practice is to state your desires as if they are already happening, by keeping them pure, direct, to the point, and in the present tense. Examples could be:

  • I am perfect as I am

  • My life is perfect as it is

  • I am blessed

  • I am Divine

  • I let go and let God

  • I am grateful

  • I am joy

  • I am love

  • I am calm

  • I’ve got this

Create your own mantra as your breathe, and really allow yourself to imagine all the details and sensations of how this new thought feels (what it looks, sounds, smells, tastes and really feels like). There are many wonderful books on this topic . A great start is Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements , Wayne Dyer’s Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, or Byron Katie’s Loving What Is.

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Take frequent short breaks throughout the day to reduce inner tension and increase feelings of centeredness and tranquility. Spend time outside in nature as much as you can. Practice meditation and progressive muscle relaxation, releasing all the muscles in your body from head to toe. This is especially helpful if you are nervous about your breathing. 

Also consider doing some Yin, gentle, prenatal and or restorative yoga, or locate your nearest Zen Center. Read Marc Lesser’s Book, Accomplishing More by Doing Less, or any book by Thich Nhat Hanh to learn the basics of meditation and Zen practice. One of my favorites is Peace Is Every Step: The Path Of MIndfulness In Everyday LIfe. 


POSTURE

The way you hold your body can make a significant difference in your ability to take a full breath. 

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Yoga and dance help with this tremendously. Periodically check your posture, especially during the second half of pregnancy. Make sure you are standing or sitting straight using your abdominal muscles, and that your shoulders are down, but not slumped forward.

Sleep with some extra pillows to keep your head or shoulders elevated, or lie down on your side. Wear loose, comfortable clothing so you aren’t restricting your movement or your body’s ability to expand with each inhale.

SELF-CARE

Be sure to take good care of yourself in general. Eat a diet that is healthy and well-balanced including a variety of whole foods and choosing organic whenever possible. Good options are:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables

  • Whole grains

  • Beans and seeds

  • Nuts and nut butters

  • Tempeh 

  • Wild Alaskan salmon

  • Whole eggs

  • Turkey or chicken, beef, lamb, and wild game

  • Whole fresh raw dairy - goat and sheep is best

  • Healthy fats like cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil or free range grass-fed organic butter

Drink at least 64 ounces of filtered, spring or well water daily between meals, at least 20-30  minutes before or 2 hours after eating. Add berries, a few squeezes and slices of lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, or fresh mint leaves to taste.

OTHER TIPS

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Make sure you are getting enough sleep and rest periods for the added demands of pregnancy. Go to bed earlier, sleep later and/or take daily naps.

Cut back on unnecessary demands if you feel you are doing more than your body can handle.

Avoid self-medicating with alcohol, drugs or tobacco.

Consult an acupuncturist with expertise in shiatsu treatment.

Read my books, which cover additional breathing exercises for pregnancy and birth, and for healing and enhanced well-being. 

Contact your physician or midwife if your breathlessness:

  • Becomes severe

  • Occurs especially during rest 

  • Interferes with your ability to carry out routine household chores

  • Is associated with other unusual symptoms like chest pain or palpitations, severe fatigue or weakness, fainting, or blood tinged sputum 

  • Occurs with signs of an infection such as fever, coughing, or congestion.

  • Is in addition to history of asthma or other respiratory problems, heart disease, or smoking

For acute attacks, pause to rest, breath slowly and deeply, exhaling through pursed lips, and try standing with your hands stretched up towards the ceiling.

Battling with low back or pelvic discomfort? Having common pregnancy aches and pains and need some additional support? Try Bellefit’s prenatal support wear. I am thrilled to announce that you get a $20 Off with code: ANNE20 at checkout - if you purchase here.

 

Healing Emotional Pain, Inner Stress and Past Trauma Naturally

 

Healing With a Form of Breathing - Clarity Breathwork

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In dealing with my personal experiences of childhood and teenage abuse, severe stress, emotional pain, physical pain, tragedy, and birth trauma, unconsciously over the years it became habitual to repress and bury my experiences and feelings. It finally started to catch up with me. I felt something was very wrong. It felt horrible to be in my body. I tried various types of therapy and so many different holistic modalities to heal like herbs, supplements, osteopathy, homeopathy, hypnotherapy, acupuncture, reiki, and then conventional approaches. Although some of these things were helpful, none worked permanently or completely. 

I knew I was carrying around this awful emotional stuff inside; but I didn’t have access to it and I wanted it out. Talk therapy never helped me; it made me feel worse. I found Clarity Breathwork by 'accident' - I overheard someone talking about the profound healing experience she had with it during a yoga retreat. I made an appointment that changed my life. My sessions of breathwork led to the complete relief and healing I'd been searching for. I found gold and I had to share it. I took extensive training to become a practitioner myself, so that I could help guide others through it. 

If you’ve experienced intense stress, emotional pain or any type of trauma that impacts your life today this modality represents true hope and is a must. Clarity Breathwork is for you if you have physical or emotional symptoms that modern medicine and other modalities cannot diagnose or heal; if you feel stuck in your life, or have emotional blocks, habitual thoughts or behaviors that are limiting you; if you want increased energy and vitality (to feel like yourself again- or even better!), healthy, holistic and natural ways to reduce stress in a way that lasts; if you desire more ease, flow and joy in your life and relationships.

This form of Breathwork is such an effective healing tool to compliment my practice as a certified nurse midwife. Over many years, the women in my practice, their partners, extended families and friends have shared with me and sought my guidance for their deepest darkest sufferings. I guide women to birth their babies into the world and themselves as moms. I also guide people to heal their wounds, rebirth themselves as healthy and whole human beings capable of immense joy and inner peace that is our birthright. I have held space for the huge powerful transformation of birth and rebirth — that both involve challenging situations of extreme intensity, vulnerability, pain of all degrees, facing enormous fears head on, surrendering to a process far greater than all of us - and lead to the creation of enormous relief, empowerment, elation, love, and miracles. 

What is Clarity Breathwork

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Clarity Breathwork is a powerful potent healing modality, yet gentle and nurturing, that uses a certain type of breath to release trapped energy of inner stress, trauma, emotional pain and harmful repeated thought patterns from the body – resulting in lasting effective recovery. It is the most potent modality I have ever experienced myself and used to help numerous others alleviate their suffering, and it is completely natural. The risk is feeling better and getting your joyful self back. 

The International Breathwork Foundation describes it: “breathwork is a dynamic body-mind practice using conscious connected breathing techniques for inner peace, enhanced well-being and personal transformation. Breathing, beyond the basic need for survival, acts as a bridge between spirit, mind, and body; between the conscious and the subconscious.”

According to the foundation, “Conscious breathing is one of the quickest ways to open the heart and energize the body. When used in specific ways, breathing allows us to release and resolve emotions, belief systems, stresses and memories which are often inaccessible through the more conventional talking therapies.”

Clarity Breathwork, a form of what was previously called Rebirthing, is a safe, easily accessible and all natural, but powerfully effective process of healing, growth and transformation that is not usually achieved with traditional therapy and modalities which only involve the logical mind. It enables you to tap into your body’s tremendous capacity to rebalance and heal. It increases oxygen and energy flow in the body, helps gently release toxins, negative thoughts, inner tension and stress, suppressed wounds, painful emotions and trapped trauma within you. It leads to greater clarity, a deeper sense of knowing and profound insights into your core life’s issues. This work, and its life coaching aspects, can also bring awareness to habitual dysfunctional subconscious beliefs, repetitive patterns and conditioning, as well as remove blocks and a sense of feeling stuck, that limit you from living the life you want. It allows for spontaneous completion and resolution, invites you to develop the courage to cultivate acceptance, understanding, reconciliation and even gratitude for past hurts. It enhances love, compassion, and forgiveness of yourself and others, and inspires you to take responsibility for your life, embrace what is, and let go of trying to control what cannot be controlled.

What is amazing is how it can bring consciousness to your subconscious — which dictates much of your bodily functions, emotional responses, and behavior. Clarity Breathwork can even connect you to the spiritual realm within and around you, to reveal the true magnificence of who you are and heal a mistaken sense of separation from these essential components of life. Thee process creates an incredible feeling of relief, aliveness, enhanced well-being, and joy. Wonderful inner change creates outer changes in your well-being, your life, your direction and sense of purpose, and your relationships.

How Does Clarity Breathwork Work?

Physically

Breath is what gives us life, needed fuel, energy and oxygen; exhaling is the most effective natural detoxification. Clarity Breathwork invites you to breathe at 100% of your lungs’ capacity, accessing 100% of your respiratory system. In modern day life, we usually breathe far less than that, with 20-30% of our lung capacity. Oxygen is the main fuel/energy for every cell and organ in your body. During the time you are breathing completely and fully in this way, you are enabling your cells to get get fully oxygenated and energized, you are supplying yourself with maximum amount of that fuel.

You are also releasing toxins, so that your entire body can work better and operate more efficiently. Your lungs are the main organ of detoxification as well, releasing many toxins, not just carbon dioxide, so you are getting a huge cleansing and natural detoxification with breathwork. This enables your cells and organs to function most optimally and healthfully.

In the state of breathing in this way, you are bathing in healthy hormones. You are creating a more alkaline state, instead of acidic state associated with many diseases.

By doing this, everything in your body works better and more efficiently, so you are putting yourself in the most ideal state of health that is possible for you.

Emotionally

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Breath is also intricately involved in our emotional responses. When we are relaxed, we breathe more slowly and deeply. When we encounter a stressor, our bodies are hard-wired to go into the fight or flight stress response. Sometimes this can be lifesaving. But if there is no imminent danger, we still experience all the symptoms and effects of the stress hormones which become harmful over time, and often we are without the ability to fully process it all — especially if the stress is chronic or severe. We momentarily hold our breath, then breathe more rapidly and shal- low, and the unprocessed emotions felt at the time get subconsciously repressed, and stored as trapped energy within the body, without our knowing.

Breath is the vehicle by which we process emotion. Clarity Breathwork puts you in a semiconscious state, gets your conscious mind out of the way so your central nervous system can reset. It is like turning off and on the computer, so we can return to ideal original state/intended original factory settings, so your body can rebalance anything out of balance. It enables the trapped emotional energy in your body and cellular memory, that was not processed to come up to be felt, expressed, processed and cleared/released on its own without you having to think, know, mentally understand, analyze, or talk about it, without having to try to make it happen or access your subconscious via thought.

In the process of Clarity Breathwork, you are opening and accessing your subconscious. You get awareness and clarity of your core limiting beliefs, dysfunctional patterning, old programming and conditioning, which frees you from them, and enables you to transform them. Breathwork literally empowers the body to reset, recalibrate, rebalance, heal itself.

Many people in the modern world operate almost continuously in the fight or flight mode even though there is no actual danger from which to flee, wreaking havoc with their health. Animals, especially mammals, shake off trauma energy, after they escape a predator threat, and return to their normal relaxed state of being — they move on without being impacted by the trauma experience; the energy of the trauma is not suppressed, it does not build up and cause dis-ease as it does in humans. Humans tend to carry baggage of past wounds, hurts, pains, and traumas. Clarity Breathwork enables the breather to be in an altered state, so the body naturally releases this baggage of past trauma energy, and when it is released we feel better emotionally as well as physically. It is incredible to feel and to witness the immense relief that follows.

Spiritually

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It even works on a deeper spiritual level, regardless of whether you believe it or not, and is inclusive of all belief systems. Spirituality means a lot of different things to different people. Whatever you believe it does not matter — God, Spirit, mother earth, goddess, the universe. The route of breath, inspire, is in spirit, which can simply be all that which transcends the body. Around the world in many cultures and religions, breath is associated with spirit, God, the infinite and eternal — from all biblical religions where God is described as breathing life into the first humans Adam and Eve, to the yogic traditions describing prana (breath) as spiritual life force energy.

Clarity Breathwork has no association with any religion or spiritual dogma, but it sure has spiritual benefits; it enables us to explore, feel deeper into, and connect to the essence of who we are, that which is sublime and so very there, but not directly discernible through our five senses. It connects you with the less tangible transcendent aspects of you.

Clarity Breathwork can lead to transcendental and divine mystical experiences. People report they connect with a higher power, energy/presence of others who have died or are not near, but still present for reconciliation, support or guidance, have healing visions, access great clarity and get incredible insights.

Breathwork takes you beyond your limiting judgmental mind, beyond your body, beyond the illusion of separation from divine energy within and around us, and each other.

If you are literally taking in all this breath, inhaling the spiritual life-force fully into your being, especially with the intention to heal, the healing that takes place is all the more profound; this not only makes this modality even more compelling, but also it provides such an incredible tool, that you can access at your own will. Miracles happen. I have experienced them myself or witnessed them in countless others.

Want to try it? There are group and private local and online sessions available throughout the year. Go to my Clarity Breathwork website page for more details and the full schedule. 

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How to Prevent and Heal Birth Trauma in Babies

 

In part two of birth trauma in babies, we’ll be looking at how to prevent birth trauma in the first place for your little one. We’ll also look at how to help your baby heal from trauma, if it did already happen.

Your baby will learn about care, love, and healing; it’ll benefit him or her for life!

How to Prevent Birth Trauma in Babies

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In terms of prevention, a healthy pregnancy and beautiful natural birth are sure ways of encouraging healthy outcome and without birth trauma for you or your baby.

So, let’s quickly look at what you can do to promote a healthful and deeply fulfilling experience, while preventing any need for intervention that can lead to traumatic experiences.

Having a Natural Birth

So, what can you do to put in place the kind of birth that will support you and your baby to come into the world as nature intended?

Begin with preparation in pregnancy.

Attend my webinar on preventing birth trauma.

In it, I go over crucial tips that’ll help you develop a comprehensive plan and prepare for a natural birth. You must prepare well in advance, like you would for running the 26 mile marathon, or your own wedding.  If you want to succeed in getting what you want - rocking and loving your experience and have a healthy outcome physically and psychologically - you can not afford to just wing it. Not in today's world. 

Yes, your body knows how to give birth, when we get our modern minds out of the way and we are with people and in settings that support it and do not disturb it when everything is normal and healthy. 

Look for a midwife or doctor and birth setting setting with high rates of successful natural births, without routine unnecessary interventions, that completely allows you to have your voice, and respects and supports your decisions.

You may need to learn a complete mindset shift, especially if you do not know anything about natural birth, or have not been around it as women were throughout history; this is extremely important if you don't feel confident, have lots of fear and do not feel supported.  Although underestimated, preparing your mindset is also a powerful and a foundational place to begin when creating your birth plan and getting ready for your birth. When you set your intentions for your experience, you’re more likely to manifest what you want. 

The mindset plays a huge role in the success of famous athletes, performers, as well as business men and women - they all have coaches to help them with that so they become the rockstars they are. You do not need to be famous or perform. But you do need to take back your birth so you can have a healthy one that you love, and without trauma. Your ability to do this rests in your attitude and mindset, that needs to transform and be different than the herd mentality.

And do hire a doula - who can be your coach for your big day. It is another must.

Do any of the following situations apply to you?

  • It is your first baby,

  • It’s your first time planning a natural birth,

  • You want a vaginal birth after cesarean birth, or

  • You already had a traumatic birth and want to plan for a much better, and completely different, experience next time around.

If you answered yes to any of the above, then I recommend you take my online Love Your Birth  course as it goes over all of this in much greater depth. I literally teach you how to transform your mindset so that it serves you on this journey of a lifetime.

The lessons in the course come from my extensive experience guiding and and empowering women and their families in my practice. They’ve led to the awesome birth experiences that I have been honored to witness for over 20 years.

All mamas who have been through it benefited from it immensely. Take a look.

What to Do During and After the Birth

Babies are way more capable than we give them credit! Your unborn baby—when he or she is ready—is naturally inclined, with the help of your body's labor, to move through the birth canal of their own will and effort, when given the opportunity. 

Photo by @senhoritasfotografia.

Photo by @senhoritasfotografia.

In part one of this birth trauma in babies blog series I discussed how babies are actually more alert, cognizant and sensitive than we realize. If we interrupt the birthing and postpartum process when all is well, with any kind of medical or surgical procedures, testing and interventions, the baby will feel terrified, unsafe, their own agency taken away, their space violated and threatened. Then the trauma reaction ensues! Interventions that can cause trauma can include drugs, internal electrodes on their head, forceps, vacuum, cesarean, immediate cord clamping, suctioning their airway, rough handling, or separation from mom. All the more so when there are complications and interventions are truly needed. 

We need to be sensitive to the baby’s psychological experience when giving care during and after the process of delivery. In the womb and certainly as a newborn, baby is fully aware and conscious and is even more vulnerable to trauma than an adult, as baby's nervous system is still developing.

In addition to the prevention mentioned above, we can help minimize risk of birth trauma by creating a homey and private atmosphere for both mom and baby - in all settings.

That includes dim, soft lighting, and a quiet, peaceful, slow paced environment.  Also, if a mom feels loved, honored, supported and cared for, if she feels calm, safe, intimate and sensual, she’ll not only labor real well, but also will have yummy hormones that pass over to baby, so baby is bathed in them and feels this as well.  Check out my birth trauma series about mothers for more on how we can prevent and heal trauma in moms.

When I talk about gentle care, I’m talking about gentle handling, soothing reassuring voice and touch, eye contact, being held, breastfeeding, and a lot of skin-to-skin contact with mom or partner —this should begin after birth.

Photo by @sehorhitasfotografia.

Photo by @sehorhitasfotografia.

Don’t cut the cord immediately either. That is baby's life line to oxygen, blood volume and essential nutrients and immunity to help baby transition to life outside the womb. Clamp it only after the pulsing stops or the placenta is birthed. 

Babies also love relaxing music and bath water - and who wouldn't like flower petals floating around, the ambiance of real or electric candles, and a delicious light scent of lavender or citrus?  If you have a water birth, watch them open up, move their arms and legs, and look around when held in the birthing pool. 

This is a sacred time for meeting, connecting to and bonding with each other, so unplug from your phone and computer, and have someone else in charge of spreading the exciting news and taking pictures.

If a cesarean birth is needed, it can be gentle, to simulate a family-centered, natural birth as much as possible, so it feels like a huge personal celebration rather than an operation. These same concepts apply however baby comes into the world.

Furthermore, any procedures or exams that need to happen after the baby’s birthed can be done at mom’s bedside while she’s holding and soothing her baby, explaining what’s going on if something is being done to either of them. A healthy baby needs to stay with parents at all times and not be rolled away in an isolate crib, taken to the noisy and brightly lit nursery of strangers for any examination or intervention. 

How Can Babies Heal from Birth Trauma

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In today’s technological world, there are more stressful, scary, drug-induced labors and surgical births than ever before, especially here in the United States. Healthy birth has become an impersonal medical and/or surgical event, a potential crisis waiting to happen in an intensive care like setting in many hospitals; is not a normal, beautiful part of life, the humane, cozy, family-centered celebration it once was.

At least there are some improvements happening here and there, such as:

Needless to say, a lot of healing needs to take place in the last several generations, once birth was moved to hospitals in the early part of the 1900s!

Let’s take a look at some of the things we can do to help heal birth trauma in babies.

After the Traumatic Birth

In working with traumatized babies and infants, the most important thing in giving care is love. This may seem obvious but don’t take this parental superpower for granted!

As a parent, lead with your heart. It is full of wisdom and does not lie, but rather sends you in the right direction.

When interacting with your baby, always have tenderness, comfort and compassion in mind—for yourself and your baby! The more compassion you have for yourself, the easier you can extend it to others in abundance.

Practice Kangaroo Care - while in the hospital, if intensive care is needed, and definitely at home. This simply involves holding baby (clothed in a diaper only) against your skin and cover yourselves with a blanket. Its benefits are well documented and can be done safely despite baby's attachment to medical devices in the NICU, depending on baby's condition. Basic closeness, touch and attention improve their health and healing immensely.  

Your baby needs to know that even when life gets difficult—because it will—there’ll always be love. You can provide ongoing reassurance you are there for your baby. Talk to your baby in a soothing manner, and allow them to tell their story with their body and in the nonverbal way that they do. They have much to say without the ability to talk. 

Their excessive crying or “fussiness” is not simply difficult baby behavior—they’re trying to tell us something. Validate their scary experience and let them know that they’re safe now. Sing to them. Rock them. Calm them.

Take a look at renowned midwife Karen Strange’s resources on baby trauma healing. She is an expert and international educator in neonatal resuscitation and works fully from the baby’s perspective. You can begin using these incredible tools of connecting with baby in pregnancy. 

Working with a Therapist

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In treating traumatized babies, Dr. Graham Kennedy tells us that a therapist will be observing and interacting with the affected baby through movement as well as through “hands-on palpation using craniosacral therapy.”  Therapists skilled in somatic experience and cutting edge trauma healing modalities for babies are ideal. You can find a list of some wonderful ones here. 

Usually, the movements the baby begins to make are similar to those he or she made in the womb during labor, but this time giving us the story of what happened to them.

“Working with babies involves holding a space in which they feel supported enough to begin to tell us the story of what happened to them, what they experienced and where it became difficult or even traumatic.” (Graham Kennedy, November 2008)

This reenactment can have a profound change on the baby’s brain, rewiring them to experience what they would have experienced in labor were they to have had a stress-free and intervention-free experience.

There are many possible imprints and effects of birth trauma, but they can all be healed. This is well backed by much literature, science and research, especially as we are growing in our understanding of trauma, its impact and how to heal from it when we get stuck in trauma responses. 

For example, down the line, you may notice your infant or young child having trouble starting or completing tasks (or both!). This may be an effect of their birth having been interrupted—this may have caused your baby trauma, it is stored in their bodies, and now they’ve learned to carry with them a certain passivity.

Babies born by forceps, vacuum or cesarean may later on feel they have to be rescued, can't do it alone, support is painful, get angry with authority, being controlled or manipulated, or they may not want to be here at all - and that can impact every aspect of their lives.

Babies who were drugged from their moms getting pain medication, may suppress their aliveness, have issues with addiction, feel spacey, out of it and trouble being conscious in their own lives.

Babies who spent time in an incubator away from their parents, feel separate and alone, have deep longing for connection and touch, develop a psychic wall of protection, and are easily triggered by abandonment.

In later childhood through adult years, this can be completely resolved with Clarity Breathwork - I do sessions locally in my practice, and online for the global community. 

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The trauma response is an important part of our lives and it is our brain’s and body's way of protecting us at the time of perceived danger. It is a normal instinctual reaction in animals, including humans of all ages, and does not become a disorder unless it is interfered with and suppressed.

It does however, need to be treated with expertise for complete effective healing. If there is a traumatic response dysfunction, it is not a life sentence. You don’t have to hold on to those scripts anymore and neither does your baby. Full recovery is possible.

Healing birth trauma in babies is one of the most caring and giving things we can do for our children. 

Do you want to heal from trauma, inner stress and emotional pain that is negatively impacting your life? Let me help you! Read my book Trauma Release Formula available on Amazon.

 

My Two Books Pre-launched #1 Bestsellers

 
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I have some exciting news to share with you! I have officially published my first two books on Amazon today...and they both became #1 International Bestsellers! The titles are below. 

I am forever grateful of your support and would love for you to share this with any of your friends or family that you think would enjoy this as well! 

 

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Trauma Release Formula: The Revolutionary Step by Step Program for Eliminating Effects of Childhood Abuse, Trauma, Emotional Pain and Crippling Inner Stress, to Living in Joy without Drugs or Therapy Kindle Edition 

by Anne Margolis CNM, MSN, Yoga Teacher, Clarity Breathwork Practitioner (Author)

If you’ve experienced intense stress, emotional pain or any type of trauma, this program is a must - it represents true hope that saved my life and the lives of countless others. Once you know the key that unlocks the emotional pain, suffering, your ongoing personal life, work and relationship issues, and ongoing stress related physical symptoms and illness, and how to unlock it all, you experience such a powerful healing. 

For the last 22 years I have worked as a holistic nurse midwife, then with the added expertise as a yoga teacher, advanced grad and volunteer staff of Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts, and Clarity Breathwork practitioner. I have shared the most intimate experiences with women and their families as they move through young adulthood through and beyond menopause, and as they have their babies. I have held space for the huge powerful transformation of birth – that involves challenging situations of extreme intensity and vulnerability, pain of all degrees, facing enormous fears head on, surrendering to a process far greater than all of us…as well as great joy, love, and miracles. There is no pain – physical or emotional – that scares me – I am comfortable with it all; I have either felt it myself, heard about it, witnessed it, and helped others move through and heal from it. Over many years, the women in my practice, their partners, extended families and friends have shared with me and sought my guidance for their deepest darkest sufferings.

I would say just about everyone has baggage, past trauma of some sort, emotional pain and inner stress that is part of being human. Or it comes out as physical problems. Even if there is no apparent history of physical, sexual or verbal abuse unfortunately occurring at staggering rates (beyond 1:3 what is reported), most -people tell me they are one or more of the following:

From my book signing trip!

A Doctor and Midwife Recommended, Guide For Pregnancy To Postpartum Bliss Whether Birthing At Home, Hospital or Birth Center- even if this is not your first baby! 

This is a unique approach on how to have a deeply positive, empowered, and joyful journey through pregnancy, birth, and becoming a mom postpartum. Whether you have visions of a cozy home water birth, giving birth in a birth center free of pain meds and intervention, or a hospital birth with the latest technology and emergency care access just in case, this is the ultimate pregnancy to postpartum training so you can be prepared from an emotional, physical, and spiritual perspective to relax into birth and momma-hood with excitement and ease.

This comprehensive training will help you find your center and feel balanced, strong, relaxed, and calm within yourself during this special rite of passage into momma-hood- in the midst of all the chaos of life along the way. It will help you tune into your deepest desires and create joy and pleasure in your pregnancy, birth, an life as a mom - to take you and your family higher.

I’ve taken everything I’ve learned, trained and supported thousands of women, babies and their families with for over twenty years in my private practice locally and around the world, to create this book and do my part in improving maternity and newborn care and experiences, by empowering women and their families to speak up. These are my insiders secrets to increase your likelihood of avoiding high rates of risky medical and surgical interventions, serious complications including birth trauma for you and your baby, and having the birth of your dreams.

- stressed out, worried and anxious,

- overwhelmed, overworked and depleted, burned out, taking care of everyone but themselves

- filled with resentment, anger, rage

- irritable, cranky, and reactive

- unhappy, uninspired, unfulfilled, sad or downright depressed – do not feel joy

- addicted to harmful habits and do not do much to take care of themselves

- embarrassed or ashamed by some part of their body or not liking the way they look

- struggling with eating disorders,

- stuck and can’t make decisions

- disconnected from themselves and others

- shut down, powerless without a voice

- longing for something more and better, but don’t even know what they want, or thinking something outside of them will rescue them and make them happy

- plagued with self loathing, self doubt, not feeling valued, worthy or good enough, like a failure

- filled with shame, blame or a sense of being wrong

- lonely and isolated – without community, or even within their circle of friends and family

- sensually and sexually shut down and turned off

- troubled by relationship issues (immediate, extended, friends and/or professional)

- battling  career and work problems

- suffering with ongoing physical symptoms or chronic health conditions from body aches and pains, to migraines, intestinal issues, acid reflux, trouble sleeping, high blood pressure, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, cancer …the list goes on. If you can relate or have some of these feelings or issues, you are in the right place.

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I want to thank my mentor Mike Koenigs for guiding me to prelaunch two books on my two passions for helping people!!! Both are available on Amazon already! Will be released on kindle in March and paperback in April!! 

 

How To Manage 'Pain' of Normal Labor at Home

Anne discusses the concept of labor pain, how mindset places a role in the perception of pain, how the body naturally assists with the healthy sensations of normal labor and shares her own personal story of her first natural birth after giving birth twice while anesthetized with an epidural.

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“Undisturbed birth does not imply that birth will be pain-free. The stress hormones released in birth are equivalent to those of an endurance athlete, which reflects the magnitude of this event, and explains some of the sensations of birth. And like a marathon runner, a woman’s task in birth is not so much to avoid the pain – which usually makes it worse – but to realize that birth is a peak bodily performance, for which our bodies are superbly designed. Undisturbed birth gives us the space to follow our instincts and to find our own rhythm in an atmosphere of support and trust, which will also help to optimize our birth hormones, aiding us further in transmuting pain.” – Sarah Buckley, MD., Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering. (link to Sarah’s blog here: http://sarahbuckley.com/category/blog)

You may have had a similar experience to the one I share: Being given Pitocin to make my labor progress more quickly, and then an epidural– as I could not take the pain of the stronger sensations from the medication, lying on my back, attached to continuous monitors and intravenous fluids, without any labor support or doula.  I was in my early twenties back then.  I didn’t ask many questions and assumed this was standard procedure when bringing life into this world. And I was an obstetric nurse on the unit where I was laboring! This was what I saw and thought was routine.

Also, statistically, these are very common practices. However, no one shared with me the opportunity to have a natural, undisturbed, well supported childbirth. There was no online information or many books about it available to me back then, and because I didn’t have anyone in my life talking to me about intuitive pregnancy and birth as a normal physiologic process, I thought I was covering all my bases when I was eating healthy, exercising, attending all my check-ups, tests, screenings, and taking Lamaze.

They say that when the student is ready, the teacher appears….

…and perhaps I was not yet ready to dive into myself…. And let go…. I was so young, and scared by what I saw in the hospital and heard from others.

This blog post focuses on the mindset around ‘pain’ during labor and childbirth, as well as my perspective on managing it in an out-of-hospital birth setting.

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Photo by @alwaysmatilda_katie

What do you do at home if a mom can’t take the pain of labor and wants an epidural? How do you manage pain at home?

In all my years as a homebirth midwife I have not once had to transfer a mama to the hospital for epidural or pain meds because she could not cope with the sensations of normal labor. Not once.

It is not because women who have home births have different bodies and no intensive sensations. It is largely the mindset, the language we use, the attitude, the preparation in advance, and how the mamas are cared for and supported in labor.

I was always terribly frightened about pain after my experience giving birth to my first two babies on the obstetric unit where I worked as a nurse - one in the operating room while I was waiting alone for over an hour, waiting for the assistant surgeon to come perform an emergency cesarean because my baby’s heart rate dropped dangerously from the medications. My baby was miraculously fine (so much for the accuracy of the monitoring, as there was no emergency after all; so much for feeling safe in a hospital that took over an hour to rescue my baby from the emergency stress they allegedly caused), but I was not fine. That and my similarly handled second birth were the most traumatic experiences ever.

When I woke up and went to midwifery school and began to heal from my own birth traumas, I was still petrified of the pain and wanted to see if the wimp I considered myself to be could do it without an epidural. I wanted midwifery and natural birth to work for me to be authentic about providing that kind of care.

I told my fears to my midwife and she validated me. She also reassured me she was confident I could do it naturally as I was now with a midwife and my care will be very different - I would be eating and drinking, upright, moving and vocalizing freely, and would be more empowered, supported, and encouraged to trust my body’s ability to give birth; She was sure I would surprise myself.

She was so right. I felt so healed and like a superstar after my next two babies were born without epidural or any pain meds, just loving excellent midwifery care and encouragement to tap into my own capacities and strength as a woman.

Being in the water helped. Movement and moaning helped. But a complete shift in mindset and perspective was key, as was my preparation.  I learned to use different language for the sensations of labor, instead of pain which implies illness and something that needs to be remedied, and to see them for what they were. I learned to use other words for contractions, which imply tension and negativity, and the word contraction is not empowering, and does not fully explain what is happening.  Yes, the top of the uterus contracts so the birth canal can open and expand, as well as push out my baby. So expansions are also happening in labor – that is really the goal of what I am doing – expanding so my baby can emerge from my womb to the outside world, and we can both be birthed as a new mother and baby.

Suffering is a choice. And I chose to embrace my intense sensations for what they were, as healthy signs, what was needed to birth, what my baby needed to transition earth side - not that anything was wrong.

They came in waves with a delicious rest in between and I kept staying in the now. My yoga and mindfulness helped me calm myself, witness and get curious about the sensations, to release and dive right into them without fighting them, and notice that most of my body actually felt fine.  I also noticed that when more relaxed, the labor was easier and the sensations were less intense, easier to deal with.

I could do anything for 60-90 seconds, every few minutes at the maximum. I also felt confident with the support I had - and the peak intensity was only at the peak of the wave in later stages of labor, when the waves are at their most intense, closest interval and longest duration. Prior to that, they are shorter, less frequent and not as strong – so even more manageable. Later labor I knew was a relatively short period of time, and as indication that my baby would be born soon. So, that's the kind of care I provide and encourage others to provide.

Natural hormones for management of labor sensations

“In labor, such high levels [of beta-endorphins] are released and help the laboring woman to transcend pain, as she enters the altered state of consciousness that characterizes an undisturbed birth. In the hours after birth, elevated beta-endorphin levels reward and reinforce mother-baby interactions, including physical contact and breastfeeding, as well as contributing to intensely pleasurable, even ecstatic, feelings for both.” – Sarah Buckley, MD.

These natural pain-killers are programmed perfectly to release and work with a woman’s body and her baby as she progresses through pregnancy, labor and after-birth.

Beta-endorphins work with another hormone produced naturally, oxytocin, the love hormone, to contract the uterus before and after the baby is born. Physiologically, a birth in which a woman feels safe, heard, supported, loved and undisturbed, a woman’s body is a divine machine that was designed with miraculous and purposeful intent.

Although epidurals and other interventions have their place and are beneficial when necessary, routine use of them interferes with the natural tendencies and process of labor, as well as birth and the after-birth period where breastfeeding and bonding between mother and baby are so important.

Can labor and birth actually be pleasurable?

Many women who I have cared for in my practice have used the word “ecstasy” to describe it! I have helped mamas dance, laugh, sing and sensually release their babies out.

Photo by @seasonaldoc.

Photo by @seasonaldoc.

Just as I have compared some of the experience of labor and birth to that of a marathon runner, feelings of ecstasy can be compared to something similar to a runner’s high. Although birthing your baby is a much more powerful, peak-like experience as you can imagine, this is an experience a woman may only have once or a few times in her life.  

“I never thought I would see the day that anyone other than me would describe childbirth as total ecstasy! I know exactly what orgasmic birth is – I have experienced it myself. There is absolutely nothing else on earth like it. There is no moment in a woman’s life when she feels stronger, more capable, more an embodiment of the Divine than when she pushes her child into this world.” – an excerpt provided by Christine B., included in Elizabeth Davis and Debra Pascali-Bonaro’s book, Orgasmic Birth: Your Guide to a Safe, Satisfying, and Pleasurable Birth Experience (link to Debra’s blog here: http://www.debrapascalibonaro.com/blog/). 

Oxytocin is released both during love-making and during labor. There is a deep connection between the love that put baby there and the love that helps baby come out.  It’s the same sensual energy that is needed, in an atmosphere and mindset conducive to it flowing organically…as in making love, as in giving birth.

A woman’s relationship with her body, both sexually and sensually, can be an integrate part of experiencing labor. The contractions and expansions that occur during labor and childbirth are comparable to those of orgasm.

Art of an actual woman after birth by Amanda Greavette

Art of an actual woman after birth by Amanda Greavette

Most of us have grown up with a belief about labor and childbirth, one in which it has to be painful. We hold a vision in our mind of a pregnant woman, screaming in pain, wearing a hospital gown, with her legs up in the air, an obstetrician and nurses taking over – doing all sorts of emergency care on the laboring mother. That is what we are told by many others who have given birth in many hospital settings for the last few generations.

Even if it’s just something we’ve seen in the movies, it would lead anyone to sign up for an epidural without question.  No wonder there is a prevalent fear and lack of self confidence.

However, it is possible to embrace and lean into the sensations of labor, rather than fear them or try to escape them. It is possible to birth with joy, and even sensual pleasure.

When a woman prepares for this process, she can feel the momentum that labor provides. She can be guided by her own intuition and the trust of a supportive team around her. Mindset can shift to a positive perspective about the sensations of birth and it’s fully possible to have a birth that leaves a woman feeling empowered, strengthened and deeply satisfied. It is possible for her to feel a sense of bliss like no other, despite the intensity and challenges she may face.

To learn more about ecstatic birthing women and other birthing resources, check out some of the books and movies I love!

Also, this outstanding documentary, Orgasmic Birth here is a must watch!  And I was honored to be in it!

Orgasmic Birth
Starring 11 Mothers, 12 International Experts

Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life...

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma,

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams.

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself, letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom and communicate with baby in belly
  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

  

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