When you are pregnant you exercise to tone your muscles, you do yoga, you eat right to keep healthy, you practice your kegals to tone the birthing canal, so why not tone your voice. Singers do it, public speakers do it, and often times, we tone our voices without really knowing that is what we are doing.
So just what is vocal toning anyways? Vocal toning is can be one of the most VALUABLE tools for the birthing mom. The voice is one of the key areas of expression: expression of joy, pain, sorrow, anger and the list goes on. Most women in labor naturally use their voices. Vocal toning allows you to capture the power and usefulness of your voice and use it to your advantage rather than your disadvantage.
To understand why vocal toning works, first we must understand that there is a neuro-muscular connection between the cranium/throat and the sacrum/pelvis. When the throat is choked (with fear, pain or unexpressed emotion, words we can not express etc), this tightness is reflected in the pelvis/sacrum. When the throat is open, this opening is then reflected into the throat of the birth canal, the opening of the cervix.
In addition to the benefit of the open throat reflecting the open pelvis, vocal toning also releases sound vibrations throughout the body. Sound Vibration Therapy, Sound Wave Therapy, and other types of sound therapy have been common in the Alternative Healing sectors for many, many years. Sound vibrational waves are thought to affect the body on a cellular level, and have been touted to: relax muscles by carrying tension from the body, improve circulation, maximize energy flow within the body, alleviate some disease such as arthritis, heal past injuries, even diminish cellulite!
Seeing as the voice is one of the first choices of expression, it is no wonder that during a powerful contraction often the first reaction is to use your voice to say: "OW", or "it hurts", or sometimes to even scream. These are all normal natural, intuitions. The point is, to try to use the voice in a way that doesn't trigger your flight or fight response, as a scream or painful reaction would do. When you are using these habitual reactions to painful, fearful situations your mind believes what you are telling it, and this is counter-intuitive to labor's progress.
When you change the habit by using a more direction with the voice, as guided in our audio segment "Vocal Toning", you will actually be triggering the brain's response to relaxation, telling it to release more oxytocin (the love hormone that stimulates and advances labor), this hormone when in it's natural form created by you and not by a IV drip, helps labor seem less painful and can aid in mother/infant bonding.
By practicing vocal toning, expressing yourself fully and singing happily often during your pregnancy, you will be setting fabulous subconscious behavior patterns that will help you immensely during labor and birth. Vocal toning can also be used during a C-Section birth, it will help keep you calm and focused, re-assure your baby, and increase your intake of oxygen and the output of carbon monoxide insuring a safe and easy journey for your baby into this world.
BENEFITS OF VOCAL TONING:
- *open throat = open birth canal
*increases the length and depth of the exhalations
*ound vibrations also carry tension out of the body
*the sound helps calm and focus mind and body
*helpful tool to cope with labor contractions
*helps to let go of anxiety
*creates a sound of familiarity/continuity (and therefore reassurance) for your baby
*it is also a powerful breathing exercise
HOW TO TONE
Always tone from a soft throat and the sensation of an open throat tone for the entire length of the exhale, always following a deep inhalation low vibrations help to resonate the lower body, higher vibrations help resonate the upper body during labor, tone for the full length of the contraction if you are un-able to intake a deep breath during labor, try layering the breath in 2 or 3 short inhales, and then tone for the full length of the exhale/contraction.
Go with your intuitive sound. If "owww" is what works, go with it. There is no wrong or right sound.
Start experimenting with different sounds. An easy one to start with is : " ahhhhhhhhh". Practice "mmmmmmm" The try all the vowel sounds "a e i o u" noticing what those different sounds feel like as you vocalize them. Everybody gravitates to their own personal sound. There is no wrong or right sound. Feel free to combine sounds, or even use a word.
PRACTICE WHILE PREGNANT! Your baby will listen! You are creating a comforting sound for baby.
PRACTICE WITH YOUR BIRTH PARTNER! So that they can help match your rhythm during labor,
and so that they know what to expect. Their voice can add a powerful support for your momentum during labor.
PRACTICE IN THE SHOWER, THE CAR, WHILE DOING DISHES, WHILE LYING IN BED......
DO NOT ALLOW ANY ONE TO TELL YOU TO "SHHHHHH" OR BE QUIET DURING LABOR. If this is suggested to you, request that this person leave the room. You are the one in charge of your labor, and ultimately, the birth. Be Empowered to know your voice can be spoken.
ENJOY, RELAX, FIND RYTHM IN THIS RITUAL
Learn more about Ariel.
Ariel Pavic, RYT
Teaching all levels hatha, power and pre-natal yoga
Labor and Birth support for the childbearing family
Childbirth Education Sessions