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This is a question that I hear a lot from clients, both when they are in labor, or afterwards when we are debriefing after a birth. My answer always remains the same: “There is no noise meter here. Nobody can tell you if you are making too much noise, because everyone is different.”

Clients should be allowed to be as vocal as they choose to be, no matter where they choose to give birth. To some, making noises during the birthing process is about letting go. We need to let go of the control and trust the process.

That said, although the level of noise isn’t a problem, the tone of the noise can be inhibitive. Low, growly, deep, open mouth sounds are much more effective during birth than high squeaky sounds. The best way to teach this is to do it yourself. Try to make a high-pitched squeaky noise. Say “squeeeeek,” making sure to enunciate the “eeee.” Did you notice that you were squeezing your abs? Make the sound again, this time placing your hand over your abs and feeling the contraction. Did you feel relaxed or tense? You felt tense, right?

Ok, now make that sound again, this time focus on your jaw. Did you notice that your jaw was closed? Is your jaw relaxed or tense? Yes, your jaw was very much closed. It is impossible to make that high pitched sound with your jaw open and relaxed. Now if you have a vagina, what was happening to your vagina when you made that sound? It tightened, right? Some people also close their hands when making this sound.

Closed tight mouth and closed tight hands equals closed tight vagina.

You’re probably wondering, “What is a more progressive noise that will open my vagina so my labor will be shorter?” Ok, you may not be thinking that exact question, but you get the point. To find out, open your mouth and say “Ahhhh,” like the sound you make when you slip into a nice warm bath. Or if you are a mother of young kids, say “Stoooooop” in your most exhausted voice. Now place your hand on your abdomen. Was it tense or relaxed? Yes, you can’t help but be relaxed when you breathe that way. Now, focus on your jaw. Is it relaxed or tense? Yes, your jaw is open, not tight. It is relaxed. When the mouth and the abdomen are relaxed, then the hands will follow suit. Again, open hands, open mouth, equals open vagina. This is what you want to accomplish when in labor.

These three simple parts of your body, if relaxed, have higher rate for a successful and speedy birth, and you are less likely to tear.
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Rachel has worked as a register nurse (BSN from University of Utah) since 2004 with a work history in Labor and Delivery, NICU and Postpartum Care. She is also the founder of New Beginnings Doula Training which she organized in 2011. When she's not busy being a mother and grandmother, she can be found reading research papers related to some aspect of childbirth.

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