Article featured in Mother & Baby magazine 2013 – Use of Sound in Pregnancy.
Jay Kelly is a Hypnotherapist and Mind-Body Medicine Practitioner, mum of four and soon to be surrogate mum. Here she talks about how she uses affirmations and positive words as part of her therapy and tells her own personal experience of the power of music.
“Affirmations and positive words are very beneficial when birthing. Say to yourself ‘Yes, yes, yes.” and notice how it feels in your body. Now, say to yourself “No, no, no.” and again consider how this feels. Our subconscious mind doesn’t differentiate between real and imagined, and so if you keep hearing positive words and statements, your body will take this on board. Add in some relaxing, calming music, and you’re setting yourself up really nicely for a beautiful oxytocin rush.
Whilst pregnant with my first baby I was overwhelmed by my job, stressed and highly strung. I used to come home from work and just need to STOP, so I’d lie down and listen to some music to relax. Back then I wasn’t sure if my baby seemed to be happier simply because the act of being still meant that she felt able to move about more, or that she was in direct receipt of the relaxing hormones I was producing, or if she was simply pleased with my music choice.
Thirteen years ago my music choice was between two albums – The Corrs live acoustic, and Sade’s – Lovers’ Rock. Both had a wonderfully relaxing effect on me, and even though it encouraged my baby to be active inside, I’d lie there and watch my bare tummy cascade with her movements, I’d rub my tummy, pat her bottom to the beat and talk ‘sweet nothings’ to my baby. The oxytocin rush would be huge. I was so in love, and these were the moments where I would cement that bond.
Fast-forward slightly to after the birth of baby Thea. The midwife insisted on showing us how to bath a baby. No one enjoyed the experience.
Once back at home imagine a different setting. House cosy and warm, baby bath at the ready, and we hit the play button on the stereo. ‘Ping’ goes her little eyes… and relax… I could see the recognition in her face. She had her first of many very happy baths to The Corrs.
Sade’s dulcet tones featured at bedtime and Thea would be asleep within the first song each and every time. Even now at 12 years old, I bet it would have her out for the count in no time at all.
The same things happened for baby two, Evie, with great effect. Especially when it came to her birth. I made a CD up of birth music, and used those to relax to in pregnancy.
It was after this that I discovered the power of hypnosis, and I had no idea that I’d been using my music to induce trance. ‘Trance’ being an ‘altered state of mind’. Using music to allow tensions to drop away and relaxation to come in.
Later, my twins Kitty and Lydia were born to Jack Johnson’s ‘Better Together’ which not only seemed highly appropriate, but also took me away to a Hawaiian secluded beach watching the waves lapping the shore.
Even now they are all older, I still use music to create the atmosphere that I’d like in our home. Sometimes we have energy to use up, and a good old boogie is great fun, and the girls particularly bond with each other during these times. Then when snuggling up with calming music the oxytocin comes back in, and we have peace once more.
I am about to carry a baby for friends, through surrogacy, and so we will use music very preciously, as this will help the baby to feel calm and settled with familiar sounds once back in the arms of real mummy and daddy. The couple’s wedding song was also Jack Johnson’s ‘Better Together’ so I’m thankful we have similar tastes in music.”
TOP TIP 1. Choose your pregnancy relaxation music wisely, as if it works for your baby, you could be listening to it for quite some time!
TOP TIP 2. Certain tones of music and words induce trance and alter your brain waves, to aid relaxation and healing. Calm and slow words work well.
TOP TIP 3. Keeping your baby close to your chest, not only releases oxytocin for you both, but also enables the baby to continue to hear your heartbeat that it has relaxed to for the last nine months.