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Focal Points in Labor | The 5 Senses

You know that feeling when you’re deep in thought, zoning everything else out around you, staring at someone or something in front of you? Yes!

A focal point can be something we do intentionally or otherwise, when we are fixated on the task at hand or the ideas we are having. It’s both a tool of distraction and grounding, and can be extremely helpful for parents in labor.

As you feel another contraction beginning, look at your focal point and take in all the details. Concentrate your attention here, appreciating all the textures, colors, and qualities of your point paying less attention to the discomfort you’re feeling.

Ideas for focal points:

Your Partner’s or Doula’s face.

As they’re offering reassurance and support through your labor, try looking at their eyes or lips.

This option is especially easy for parents who are laboring in on a hospital bed, birth ball, stool, or in a tub, because their partner or doula can effortlessly stay at eyelevel.

A photo of your family, other children, or an ultrasound of your new baby.

A visual reminder of what you are working so hard for! Some parents have found that a simple photo of someone they love does the trick.

Favorite family heirloom.

Recall your favorite memories and share them with your birth team, as you can comfortably talk, or review them to yourself. It could be your grandmother’s dishtowel, your father’s watch, or even that old Platt book lying around.

Something that reminds you of a relaxing time or place.

That jar of sand from all your vacations, the sea shells from your honeymoon, or that trophy buck on the wall. Something that helps you relax and think ‘that was a really good day, and today is a really good day.’

The weather.

In Wisconsin, there is a strong chance it’s snowing outside or recently stopped. During the other months, we might be experiencing a summer thunderstorm or a blustery autumn day full of leaves and acorns. Regardless of what Wisconsin’s seasons bring, it’s going to be beautiful.

It might surprise you!

You’re leaning over your couch, experiencing a contraction, when you catch yourself staring at the crack in the wall. You know, the one that you swore would get fixed before the baby came? For no reason, other than it drove you insane?

Sometimes a focal point makes itself clear while you’re already in labor.

Helpful Tip:

You can use anything you want as a focal point, but the clock might not be as helpful as other items. Some clients have found it discouraging to focus on the amount of time they’ve been in labor, when it’s progressed more slowly or quickly than they’ve anticipated. Keep this possibility in mind when choosing a focal point.

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