In addition to the traditional informative and necessary preparation for birth, several more approaches have been developed to help mothers-to-be prepare for the big day. Sophrology, a method of relaxation based on breathing and self-awareness, is now practiced during pregnancy with the help of specially trained midwives. But what are the benefits of Sophrology during pregnancy? And how is it practiced?
“Sophrology can be a valuable means of assistance during labor in so far as the future mum can learn to control her breathing, which is obviously essential for the big day”, explains Farah Bensaid, Sophrologist*. But Sophrology is more than a simple breathing technique; it allows the mother, through visualization and positive projections, to overcome fears related to pregnancy and childbirth, to think differently about pain and prepare serenely for the birth.
How does a session work? For Julie Lemaire, creator of Maman Zen**, it’s essential to start by learning their needs for that day, in order to adapt the session. It’s the opportunity for the mum-to-be to express her concerns, her beliefs and the areas that she would like to work on. Following this there is a moment of physical relaxation, allowing her to enter a state between consciousness and sleep, in which the person is particularly receptive to positive suggestions. Guided by the voice of the Sophrologist, the person visualises certain events – for example their first moments with their baby or the proceedings of the birth – in a positive way, while resisting the temptation to imagine only catastrophic scenarios. And if the birth doesn’t go as well as expected? “Sophrology is there to give tools to the mum-to-be,” explains Julie: “the tools to let go, accept, to create a bubble of well-being, to relax and to distance yourself, even in difficult situations”.
Although the primary goal of Sophrology is not to establish communication with the baby, this often becomes apparent at the end of the session: the baby enjoys the mother’s relaxation! “This physical state of being is necessary for connection with the baby,” explains Julie. “This could be the opportunity for a pregnant woman who has already one or two more children to take her time with this pregnancy to connect herself with her new baby. The more the future mother is attentive to her physical feelings, the more she will establish a privileged exchange with her baby”, summarized Farah.
Is Sophrology an exclusive method for birth preparation? “In no way does Sophrology substitute preparation with a midwife” replied Julie. “The two approaches are different and complement each other, and the monitoring by a midwife remains vital”.
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