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How the Alexander Technique can aid Childbirth

Author: Carla Radford Published: 30th June 2010 13:18

Childbirth is a natural process, but it's also natural for women approaching childbirth to be a little anxious. Knowledge is your best asset. Understanding how your body works, and knowing what you can do to help it work more efficiently, can make a big difference to your whole childbirth experience.

Learning the Alexander Technique increases your awareness of exactly how you use your body. It teaches you to notice when your automatic reactions and movements create unnecessary tensions in your joints and muscles. Once you recognise these potentially harmful stresses and strains you can choose to release them.

Make a difference to your childbirth experience

Alexander Technique during pregnancy
Some women assume that backache and fatigue are normal side effects of pregnancy, but they needn't be. As your body changes in shape and weight the Alexander Technique can help you to make subtle adjustments to your posture so you're not putting undue pressure on your spine. You will find that you don't have to ‘make an effort' to stand up, walk or perform everyday tasks.

Many other aches and pains, including headaches, can be prevented or relieved by applying the principles of the Alexander Technique. It can also be beneficial if you have breathing problems or high blood pressure, and many women say it induces a welcome sense of calm.

Alexander Technique during labour
Childbirth experts agree that relaxation during labour helps to reduce the pain of contractions, conserves energy, and allows each contraction to serve its purpose unhindered. But it's not easy to relax when you have no control over what's happening to you!

Tightening your muscles is an instinctive response to pain. Most women feeling the pain of a contraction won't notice that they have clenched their jaw or fists, that their shoulders are tense, or they are curling their toes. The Alexander Technique enables you to recognise and override these automatic responses. It doesn't promise a completely pain free labour, but many women report a noticeable improvement as soon as they put what they have learnt into practice.

Alexander Technique for the new mother
No matter how well you think you are prepared for motherhood, it takes time to adjust to your new role. There is suddenly so much to do, your body is still recovering from the birth, your emotions can be seesawing between euphoria and the ‘baby blues', and you might not be getting much sleep.

The Alexander Technique helps you to take care of yourself as well as your baby. Whether you're feeding, doing the laundry, pacing the floor at 3am, or snatching a few moments of rest, you will be conscious of your body and choosing to move in ways that get the tasks done with the minimum of strain. Knowing that you are in control of your body will also make you feel more self-assured in other areas of your life.

The Alexander Technique is perfectly safe to use at all stages of pregnancy and childbirth as it simply teaches you to use your body in ways that feel right for you. There are no strenuous exercises to perform. It's all about being relaxed and comfortable. If you want to learn more about how the Technique can help you during childbirth, consult a fully qualified teacher who is a member of the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique.

Carla Radford is a Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique qualified Alexander Technique teacher with vast experience in teaching people to identify and prevent harmful physical and mental habits and release unwanted muscular tension that can cause ill-health.

Anyone in Hornchurch, Elm Park, Upminster or Cranham suffering from
back, neck or joint pain or any form of posture, tension or stress related
problems should visit www.alexanderforhornchurch.co.uk for more information.

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