Birth Preparation Exercise

Vocalization

Vocalization in labor (making noise during labor) can be a great tool for releasing tension and stress from your body. But not all noise is equal. Making too high-pitched of a noise, like a scream, screech or a squeal, tightens up your chest and neck muscles. Every muscle in your body is connected, so these tight muscles will diminish your ability to relax in labor. And high-pitched noises like screams don't make you feel very relaxed. They feel out of control, panic and fearful. When you hear these noises, even if they are made by yourself, you begin to feel panic and fearful.

You should make noises that come from a relaxed neck and chest, and that encourage you to relax fully. These noises sound like low moaning or groaning, possibly a low sigh or chanting. This exercise will help you become familiar and comfortable with making these sounds.

Vocalization Practice

To make these types of sounds, begin by relaxing your body. Be sure your neck and jaw are relaxed. Try opening your mouth by just dropping your jaw, not by trying to make a large open mouth which puts tension in your jaw again.

Start doing some deep abdominal breathing. You should begin to feel really relaxed after just a few breaths. With the next breath, sigh as you exhale. That was a simple vocalization.

The variations of vocalization in labor will happen as you vary the force with which you exhale, the position of your jaw (although it should always be relaxed) and the length of your breaths.

Become comfortable enough with this technique that you can use it easily during labor. If you find that you are too self-conscious to make a moaning noise in front of people, choose a word that helps you focus such as your baby's name or the word baby. Do the exercise again, but this time instead of just "breathing" sigh your word. Experiment again with different ways to say your word using low tones.

Review Your Work

What about this exercise felt strange or uncomfortable to you?

What about this exercise felt comfortable and relaxing to you?

How does this exercise change each time you perform it?

Have your labor support try this exercise. How comfortable is your labor support with vocalization?

How comfortable do you expect you will feel making noises like this in labor?