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Noise in Labour

I just had a lovely catch up with a client and new Mother. My client was not the first to mention that she felt she was really quite noisy in birth, that it surprised her a little, that she felt it perhaps symbolised a lack of control. It inspired me to write about birth noise.

Anyone that has taken a course with me will know that I am on the search for a noisy birth. I love my Hypnobirthing videos and the powerful way that they can change perceptions around labour but one thing they seem to have in common is a quiet labour. Perhaps the odd grunt or slight wobble, but generally very peaceful. Now it's fair to say that relaxation as practiced in Hypnobirthing can effect people in different ways and many will have a similar quiet experience but it absolutely must be said that noise can be a part of it, and that's just fine!

Let's think for a moment about other physical activities. How about how we make a baby? Some people enjoy making noise during sex. Some will scream, shout, moan, gasp or repeat words. Some will stay silent. Many athletes will make noise during their activity to help them feel energised, to release tension, through enjoyment or if things are tough because their bodies are working so hard, just as yours will be in labour. Some will stay silent. How about when we're struggling with a physical task or working out? We don't seem to think twice about allowing our bodies to just let go in these moments and follow their lead naturally, so why do we question it in birth?

You may have heard women describe unleashing their inner animal through grunting, growling or roaring. Making primal, instinctive noise in labour is a much healthier way to release tension than holding on to it and I can promise you now that every midwife or doctor or birth worker has heard it all before, so you go right ahead!

Here's how it can help

Relaxing the jaw is an important part of labour. The jaw and the pelvic floor have a close relationship. Making noise in birth can stop you from clenching your jaw, if the jaw is loose and relaxed then the pelvic floor is loose and relaxed and vice versa. Deep tonal moaning sounds are common in labour and can aid jaw relaxation. It's also a really good sign that you're breathing and not holding your breath. Breathing helps you to stay calm and in control, ensures baby receives plenty of oxygen, releases fabulous oxytocin (the hormone that keeps labour progressing) and can offer pain relief. When you hold on in labour, be it your breath or your muscles, you create tension in your body which can cause you pain and discomfort. You can learn all about the fear-tension-pain cycle as well as breathing techniques head and face relaxations on our Hypnobirthing courses.

I am woman, hear me roar!

One noise that warrants further discussion is screaming. Again, if instinctively a scream feels good and is helping you to release tension, then that's great, however if you are screaming because you are scared or no longer coping well then this may have a negative impact on your labour. Generally it is uncommon for Hypnobirthing Mothers to scream during their labour which may be attributed to the following:

- Education! A thorough understanding of the process of birth so you know what to expect

- Fear release! Working through any existing fears in advance of your labour using Hypnotherapy techniques

- Relaxation! We provide all the tools and techniques to keep you calm and make you feel more comfortable

- Understanding! Learning coping strategies to help you manage and keep in control, knowing how you can help or hinder your labour

So Mama's, allow your body to let go and follow those primal instincts. Don't be afraid to let them hear you roar!

KG Hypnobirthing Harrow & Herts run group and private Hypnobirthing courses based in Harrow and Elstree. For further information please visit

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