by Sophie Fletcher, leading expert and author of Mindful Hypnobirthing

It may be hard to think of relaxation and birth together, but knowing how to relax during birth can help a woman adapt well to labour and even experience less pain. This is because when a woman is relaxed and confident the muscles that work during labour have a much easier job. Feeling relaxed and confident also helps a woman release oxytocin, a hormone needed to birth. It can even help labour progress quicker and may reduce intervention.

Being relaxed and confident of what to expect is also important for the birth partner, it can help a woman giving birth to feel more confident in the support of those around her. There are many ways in which you can help a woman to relax during labour. One of those is her environment, think of putting on music and dimming the lights another is affection which can help release oyxtocin. There are many classes that teach you why adopting a relaxed attitude to birth can really help, alongside techniques that you can learn to help increase relaxation and confidence during labour. These might be yoga, mindfulness for childbirth or hypnobirthing classes.