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Focal point during labor…



Using a Focal Point during Labor

A great coping technique for labor is a focal point.  And one of the wonderful things about focal points is you don’t have to practice using it or give your support person any additional training.  When contractions get intense, you just use it! Think about it….

What is a Focal Point?

A focal point is just something you stare at during contractions. Sound weird, doesn’t it?  But it’s like staring at a person during a work presentation, at a spot on the ceiling when working out or at your computer background when you’re thinking. 

The Gate Control Theory

Focal points help us concentrate on a thought or getting through something painful.  The reason focal points work to deal with pain is because of the Gate Control Theory.  Basically, the brain processes the information you’re seeing leaving less brain activity to process the pain.  Since your brain’s not processing the pain, you’ll feel less of it. It’s like closing a gate on the pain.

Why Can’t I Close my Eyes?

Sometimes closing our eyes when we’re in pain actually forces us to concentrate on the pain rather than taking our attention away from it.  If you really think closing your eyes will help you in labor, try visualizing a favorite place like the ocean, the forest, a flower or even a color. Some mom’s like to visualize the baby during a contraction…with it’s head pressing down on the cervix. This will also help keep your brain busy processing the thought rather than the pain.

Do I have to Bring a Focal Point?

Not unless you want to.  Many women will use a picture on the wall, a blank television screen, a stain on the floor or even a piece of garbage.  But if you want to bring a focal point from home like a favorite photo, stuffed animal, baby shoe , go for it!

Get Imaginative!

Some people will set up laptops at home or in birthing facility rooms that scroll through pictures of your favorite places.  You could also buy a DVD or a video that contains relaxing scenes to play either at home or at your birthing facility. 

Are There any Bad Focal Points?

Yes!  For most mom’s staring at the clock during contractions doesn’t help.  It’s like staring at the readout on an electronic treadmill or exercise bike.  Staring at the reading doesn’t make exercising any easier and staring at a clock during contractions only makes them feel longer.  I also recommend avoiding staring the fetal monitor that’s tracking your contractions and the baby’s heartbeat, though some personalities do find it helpful


Give it a try!


One Response

  1. […] focal points (like a baby toy , ultrasound picture of your baby, pictures of other children/pets/you and your partner/anything relaxing or inspiring, written out birth affirmations, a spiritual token, beads from a blessingway, a drawn or sculpted labryth to follow with your eyes or fingersor ultrasound picture for the rougher contractions) […]

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