Through any challenging time, using affirmations is an effective strategy to control our mindset, reduce anxiety, and improve our overall ability to believe in ourselves. Mothers could use affirmations to help get them through the hardest days, as this job is the toughest one in the world. And it starts at the beginning — the very beginning. Birth affirmations are a way women can coach themselves and find the inner strength to endure labor and delivery.
What are Birth Affirmations?
Birth affirmations are personal statements you choose to help you endure the intense and painful labor and delivery experience. They are a mindfulness technique — you are training your brain to focus on your strength.1 And how capable you are. And how you are, in fact, ready for this and that you will get through it.
Positive birth affirmations might include statements like “My body is strong” and “Every contraction brings me closer to my baby.” But it’s truly up to the mother to decide what types of messaging will resonate with her and effectively reduce negative and sabotaging thoughts.
Birth can be grueling, and mothers often feel defeated when things don’t go as planned. (Because babies don’t always follow birth plans as they make their way into this world. They are already letting us know that they run the show!) That’s why having a few positive words of encouragement for labor and delivery in your proverbial “back pocket” (likely just written down somewhere where you can see them easily or even saved in your phone) might be just the trick you need to get through that final push.
7 Benefits of Birth Affirmations
The true benefits of birth affirmations will vary from mother to mother, but in general, they serve to calm the mind and recenter your focus so you can find the inner strength you need to keep going.1 Here are some potential advantages of using birth affirmations:
1. They Can Foster a Connection With Your Body and Your Baby
By training your mind via birth affirmations, the mother will continuously center herself around what her body is doing and how two lives are coming together to achieve something that is heroic and miraculous.
2. They Can Help You Feel Empowered and Believe That, Yes, You Can Do This
Sometimes, especially when we’re really far into the labor and delivery process, moms need a boost of confidence, as we can feel defeated by exhaustion and pain. Positive birth mantras empower us to believe that we are stronger than we realize and still have the energy to continue. The emotional support provided by affirmations helps solidify a feeling of competence in the mother.2
3. Birth Affirmations Can Help with Pain Management
Pain management, in general, can often be managed via mindfulness techniques like repeating birth affirmations to oneself.1,3 Labor and delivery is definitely a painful experience in which such mindfulness training can be very effective because the pain during childbirth serves a function — it lets us know what our body is doing — and we must be in tune with the pain. However, taking slow, deep breaths, picturing certain images in the mind, and repeating positive birth affirmations over and over can help us cope and work through the pain.3,5
Affirmations “are not intended to ‘fix’ or solve your pain,” Psychology Today explains. “The practice keeps your attention in a powerful place and your brain can create new circuits in response. However, it is also important to allow yourself to feel the mental or physical pain before you redirect.”4
4. They Can Help You Feel More in Control
One of the hardest parts of labor and delivery for me was the lack of control and not knowing how it would all go. And while, yes, it’s true that there are some things we have to leave up to the powers that be (and let baby run the show!), positive birth affirmations can help us remember that we can control our mindset.
5. Birth Mantras Help in Reducing Stress
Stress tenses the body, prolonging labor and releasing stress hormones called catecholamines. Stress hormones suppress oxytocin, the hormone that gets your uterus contracting. Less oxytocin means a slower, longer labor that might need to be augmented with Pitocin, a synthetic oxytocin.6 It is hard to relax when the body is in pain, but training the mind to be calm is one way to help fight those stress responses as painful contractions hit.
But mindfulness techniques (like telling yourself positive affirmations over and over or seeing them written on the wall where you can read them throughout the labor and delivery process) can help reduce stress and increase the likelihood that birth will go according to plan.
6. They Lead to Reducing and Releasing the Fear of Labor and Delivery
With my first child, I was scared of what would happen to my body through labor and delivery and if my baby would be okay. Like stress, fear can cause the body to tighten and tense, making for longer labor, and anxiety or nervousness in pregnant women increases the risk of dystocia (difficult or obstructed birth).7
Birth affirmations remind the fearful mother, especially if this is her first experience through labor and delivery, that she is strong, capable, and can handle whatever is coming her way.
7. They Reduce the Likelihood of Unwanted Medical Interventions
Many pregnant mothers desire a birth with limited or no medical interventions, and positive birth affirmations can help achieve that by keeping the mind and body more calm and the mother more focused on what she needs to do. Having delivered three babies, I know first-hand that the longer labor takes, the more likelihood of medical interventions. Doctors want to get that baby out to minimize the stress labor can put on both the mother and baby. Relaxing your body and mind might help your labor move along more quickly and reduce the chances of medical interventions.2
How To Use Positive Birth Affirmations During Your Labor
One way to use positive birth affirmations during labor is to memorize key phrases you believe will help you endure the process best. Repeat them and consider asking your support person(s) in the room with you to say them as well.
You also might consider writing them down onto affirmation cards or hanging them on the wall where you can see them easily through all phases of your labor. Another option is to have your birth affirmations on a recording of some kind where you can hear them through a speaker in the room or even headphones if you prefer a softer, more personal connection.
But most importantly, as the mother, you need to be all-in. In my experience, birth mantras will only work if you’ve chosen statements that resonate with you, that you’ve practiced through your pregnancy, and that you embrace with your whole being. Jotting down a few motivational sentences on your way to the hospital isn’t going to cut it — utilizing birth affirmations means figuring out what works for you, knowing what you need to hear when things are really, really hard, and practicing saying them to yourself over and over until you believe them.
25 Labor Affirmations To Consider Using
Labor affirmations come in all forms, and finding a list that truly resonates with you is important. I need to hear that I am strong and can do hard things. What do you need to hear when things are challenging for you? Here are some examples of labor affirmations and birth mantras:
1. My body knows how to give birth.
2. I trust my body.
3. My body is strong.
4. I can do this.
5. I am ready for this.
6. I trust that my baby’s birth will happen when needed.
7. I accept that my baby’s path to being born is right.
8. I relax my body so that my baby can relax.
9. I breathe deeply and calm my mind and body.
10. My body is doing its job.
11. I find more strength with each inhale and release pain with each exhale.
12. I will meet my baby soon.
13. Each contraction brings me closer to my baby.
14. This pain is temporary.
15. I am stronger than the pain.
16. I have the power and strength to birth this baby.
17. I am proud of how strong I am.
18. I am brave.
19. I am safe. My baby is safe.
20. I can do hard things.
21. I can let my body take over and do what it needs to do.
22. I am doing my best and doing an amazing job.
23. I know I can do this because I’m already doing it.
24. This is our journey together — mine and my baby’s. And we’re doing it.
25. Women all over the world are doing this right now too. We’re all in this together.
There are endless options for birth affirmations that might resonate with you. Learn what works for you through other stressful moments in your life and start compiling mantras to consider as you near labor and delivery. Soon, you’ll have your list ready, packed neatly in your hospital bag, or taped to the wall in your delivery room. You got this, Mama. You are strong and brave.