Preparing for Birth: Identifying Tension

What Does Tension Feel Like? Let’s look first of all at recognising tension in your body. Think about the different things that you do when you are tense: Do you hunch your shoulders and neck? Do you sweat? Shake? Turn red? Do you stammer? Become mute? What does Tension feel like for You? You need to be able to recognise tension in your body. It’s very possible you are carrying a lot of tension right now, only you are so used to feeling it that you don't even recognise it anymore! Understanding and being able to recognise the difference between a tensed and a relaxed muscle is the best way to begin relaxation. Try lying still on the floor or a chair and tensing and relaxing the different muscles in the body. This will give you a good idea of where you carry tension, and identify areas that need more help relaxing. What Makes you Tense and How do you Cope? Think about times in the past when you have encountered a new or stressful situation. Maybe going to the dentist is something you really hate to do. • How did the prospect of this make you feel? Consider the signs of physical tension in your body. • How did you cope with this tension? • What made it lessen or go away? • What helps to relax you? Your Birth ROCKS Mentor can help you identify the signs of tension in your body and also to recognize how you most effectively relieve that tension. Try these exercises at home with your partner to get you started. This blog is adapted from the revised edition of Birth ROCKS by Cheryl MacDonald, available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

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