Relaxation is extremely important during labor and childbirth.  The more relaxed you are, the more efficient each contraction can be and the less pain/discomfort you will feel.  When tension is held in the hands, shoulders, neck, forehead, or any other place, it takes power away from the uterus where it can do the most work.  Holding tension also causes pain.  Odd as it may sound, it requires work to relax.  HypnoBirthing and HypnoBabies teach excellent relaxation techniques and help develop that skill.  Any childbirth class should teach an element of relaxation.  Do several body checks with yourself each day.  Simply scan your body to discover if you are holding tension anywhere.  Shoulders, jaws, and the neck are common areas of tension.  Some women have expressed tension in their tongues or even buttocks.  Once you have discovered the tension, take a deep breath and let it go.  Let it go several times.  After some time you will hold less and less tension in that area and in your whole body.   During labor keep your hands open rather than giving a death grip to your partner.  Let your shoulders relax down into the frame of your body, rather than lifting them up and away.  The better you are able to relax during labor the more comfortable you will be and the more effective your labor will be.

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