Midwives know that when a labouring woman feels safe, private and undisturbed she will move unrestrictedly and make sounds uninhibitedly. In traditional cultures, experienced mothers sung to the woman during labour, surrounding her with sound to help shift her consciousness. This sound bath allowed the labouring woman’s body to work towards giving birth, and her consciousness to be with her baby.
What is vocalisation in labour?
Vocalising in labour is the practice of making low, vibratory sound as breath is slowly released. There is a physiological connection between the vocal cords, the respiratory diaphragm, cervix and the perineum. Finding the ‘notes’ that resonate most profoundly with your body is referred to as ‘toning’.
In labour, you can do the vocal toning yourself, or others, such as your partner or support person can do the vocalising with you. As one of my past client said, “I managed to get through with no pain relief or intervention. During the pushing phase I mooed like a cow and it felt fantastic. My partner Sam (who came to classes with me) was great. He gave me heaps of sacral massage and mooed along with me.”
Practicing making low earthy sounds can help you feel more relaxed and uninhibited when making sounds in front of others. You can even go into the shower or toilet at home or hospital to find a private place to let go. As Peter Jackson says ‘there comes a time in labour when sounds are a natural vehicle for birth.”.
How you can use vocal toning during labour?
As you move through the stages of labour, you will find yourself instinctively using different tones as you transition through the stages. The strong sensations in labour can be decreased and the whole body nourished through the hours of giving birth.
Two of the most effective sounds you can use during labour and birth are:
1. The ‘hummming’ sound
· Make a low humming sound with your lips closed but jaw relaxed
· the vibration of the lips increases the release of endorphins and other relaxation hormones.
2. The ‘arhhh’ sound
· make a long ‘arhhh’ sound. The sound opens the throat and with you visualizing the pelvic bowl opening you become wider and wider as more air is released. Experiencing the correlation between your relaxed throat and your relaxed bottom.
· remember to drop your chin to allow the sound to travel down and out
Vocal toning helps you to:
· relax and open the muscle fibers in the pelvic bowl, allowing the pelvic floor to open with more ease and help you birth your baby more quickly.
· create the optimum level of hormones and chemical action in the body for birthing your baby
· you may find that during labour, the low tones will create more opening than the higher tones. A low deep ‘arhh’ is going to be more effective than a high ‘arhh’.